Additional focus of Testbiotech projects
21 September 2023 / The Testbiotech website provides new content in regard to technology assessment and the introduction of genetically engineered organisms into agriculture. Its main aim is to promote a better understanding of the systemic effects that genetic engineering can have on agriculture, breeding, health, the environment and nature.
The purpose of a technology assessment is to gain more in-depth knowledge of risks to health and the environment; it is also used to evaluate socio-economic impacts, ethical aspects, questions regarding sustainability as well as systemic effects on the various sectors. The Testbiotech project is designed to shed light on several aspects that have not received sufficient attention, or where there is bias in the presentation. Testbiotech does not claim to cover all relevant aspects.
We take previous experience gained from the cultivation of transgenic plants ('old' genetic engineering) into account, and assess the high expectations associated with the use of new genetic engineering (New GE or new genomic techniques, NGT). The Testbiotech website includes a number of short case studies and plans to add more in the near future. The issues in the case studies include, for example, pesticide use, animal welfare, systemic effects on the environment, patents and also alternatives to genetic engineering. More detailed background information on these issues is also available on the website.
Testbiotech is demanding the introduction of a comprehensive technology assessment in order to distinguish between empty promises and realistic expectations - and to identify any negative effects in breeding, agriculture or food production at an early stage.
This is especially relevant in the context of new genetic engineering: mass releases of genetically engineered organisms can result in further destabilisation of ecosystems, and thus endanger our livelihoods. Releases of NGT organisms into the environment should, therefore, be kept to a minimum. As is the norm in other sensitive areas of nature conservation, we should avoid intervention into the environment as far as possible. A technology assessment can provide important guidance in the decision-making process.
Christoph Then, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel + 49 151 54638040