GM WATCH COI, animals, potatoes, CRISPR, inert pesticides and more

100% of members of UK government’s GMO advisory body ACRE have potential or actual conflicts of interest

Today the UK Parliament’s Delegated Legislation Committee debated the government’s statutory instrument that lays the groundwork for deregulating the planting of GM crops for non-commercial purposes. Daniel Zeichner, the Shadow Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, voiced concerns about the instrument. He mentioned that several members of the government’s GMO advisory body, the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE), have conflicts of interest with the biotechnology industry – the same industry that stands to benefit from the government’s plan to weaken the rules around agricultural GMOs. His assessment is backed by the startling results of our own analysis. They show that 100% of the members of ACRE have potential or actual conflicts of interest that may enable them to benefit from any weakening of the regulations around GMOs. In addition, in spite of ACRE’s role in regulating environmental releases of GMOs, only one member of the ACRE panel has expertise in ecology and none appear to have expertise in environmental toxicology. GMWatch


GM contamination update: Animals

Researchers have found escaped GM ornamental aquarium zebrafish (Glofish) multiplying in streams in Brazil. This is the world’s first ecosystem contamination from a GM fish. Two food system contamination incidents from experimental GM pigs have already occurred in Canada. Escape and contamination incidents with GM crop plants have been observed in Canada – with GM canola, flax, and wheat. GM contamination is an ongoing concern, including because a GM Atlantic salmon now being produced in an on-land facility in Prince Edward Island. CBAN



Potato farmers conquer a devastating worm — with paper made from bananas

Potato cyst nematodes are a clever pest. These microscopic worms wriggle through the soil, homing in the roots of young potato plants and cutting harvests by up to 70%. They are challenging to get rid of, too: The eggs are protected inside the mother’s body, which toughens after death into a cyst that can survive in the soil for years. Now, researchers have shown a simple pouch made of paper created from banana tree fibres disrupts the hatching of cyst nematodes and prevents them from finding the potato roots. The new technique has boosted yields fivefold in trials with small-scale farmers in Kenya, where the pest has recently invaded, and could dramatically reduce the need for pesticides. The strategy may benefit other crops as well. Science


CRISPR’s Nobel Prize winners defeated in key patent claim for genome editor

Patent rulings and scientific honours don’t always mesh, as the team that won the Nobel Prize for creating the genome editor CRISPR learned. After a 7-year patent battle, a US court rejected its intellectual property claim to a key use of CRISPR, potentially costing it millions in licensing fees. According to a ruling by an appeal board of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a different group, led by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, made the “actual reduction to practice” of CRISPR’s ability to edit eukaryotic cells, including humans. This means companies developing CRISPR-based medicines must now negotiate with Broad and its partners, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for the use of the editor. The losing team — the so-called CVC group — includes the two researchers who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their pioneering CRISPR work, Jennifer Doudna of the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology. “This borders on a total loss for the CVC,” says Jacob Sherkow, a patent attorney. Science



“Inert” pesticide ingredients are understudied and potentially dangerous to bees

A review on the effects of “inert” pesticide ingredients (co-formulants) on bees finds major areas with no research and several alarming results. Scientists searched all the academic literature on the topic of “inert” ingredients and bees, and found just 19 papers, a vanishingly small amount over the 50 years they’ve been researched. Worse still, just three of those papers were on a bee species other than honeybees. So for the vast majority of bees, we know nothing about how “inert” ingredients impact them. Some of the more worrying results include: Spiking a pond with an “inert” ingredient can cause considerable honeybee drownings for 60 days (very long-lasting effect); a co-formulant in fungicides damages bumblebee guts; and co-formulants can make bee diseases worse, killing larvae. Proceedings of the Royal Society B



COVID origin conspiracy?

A string of unearthed emails is making it seem increasingly likely that there was a conspiracy to suppress the notion that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had emerged from research funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), headed by Anthony Fauci, writes Nicholas Wade. The latest emails don’t prove such a conspiracy, but they make it more plausible, for two reasons: because the expert virologists therein present such a strong case for thinking that the virus had lab-made features and because of the wholly political reaction to this bombshell on the part of Francis Collins, then-director of the National Institutes of Health.


Paul Thacker: Scientific corruption and conflicts in covering COVID (podcast)

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson interviews investigative reporter Paul Thacker about Anthony Fauci’s and Peter Daszak’s conflicted roles in suppressing discussion of the lab leak theory of COVID origins at the same time as funding dangerous gain-of-function research with coronaviruses in China. Thacker also offers insights on why and how science writers have silenced public debate on this topic.



COVID-19: A short history of laboratory leaks and gain-of-function studies

Research shows that the escape of viruses from laboratories and supposedly contained experiments is a common occurrence. In addition, many pandemics have arisen from lab escapes and almost all have not been directly zoonotic (arising from a natural spillover from animals to humans). Even when viruses do ultimately originate in animals and make the jump into humans, they mostly fester in a separated community of human beings for many years – centuries or millennia – before spreading during abnormal movements of people due to wars and famines, writes Professor Paul R. Goddard. Prof Goddard’s overview of the history of lab leaks and gain-of-function studies shows that claims by Anthony Fauci and Peter Daszak about the origins of COVID-19 are false.


Science writers promote corporate interests

In a wide-ranging article, Paul D. Thacker challenges “science writers” who in their articles and on social media “promote a ‘pro science’ message that can drift outside the universe of factual reality while repeating corporate PR”, often Monsanto’s! He also criticises Facebook’s censorship of factual reporting on pandemic issues.








Published by Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, artist, writer, chef

Chef Davies-Tight™. The Animal-Free Chef™. ANIMAL-FREE SOUS-CHEF™. FAT-FREE CHEF™. Word Warrior Davies-Tight™. HAPPY WHITE HORSE™. SHARON ON THE NEWS™. BIRTH OF A SEED™. Till now and forever © Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, Artist, Author, Animal-Free Chef, Activist. ARCHITECT of 5 PRINCIPLES TO A BETTER LIFE™ & MAINSTREAM ANIMAL-FREE CUISINE™.

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