RNAi–based Pesticides and GM Crops Will Need Special Safety Testing
|Publication date: March 19, 2014|
THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE
Dear friends and colleagues,
Re: RNAi–based pesticides and GM crops will need special safety testing
A peer-reviewed paper in the journal Bioscience draws attention to potential hazards on nontarget species of pesticides and GMOs made with RNA-interference (RNAi) gene-silencing techniques. The hazards include off-target gene silencing, silencing the target gene in unintended organisms, immune stimulation, and saturation of the RNAi machinery.
The paper, authored by two employees of the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, notes that the nature of these new pesticides and GMOs makes the prediction of toxic effects challenging. In addition, the rapid development of RNAi applications has challenged scientists to identify and fill key knowledge gaps that underlie the environmental implications of large-scale, pesticidal RNAi-based crops.
The authors raise the concern that current toxicity testing is inadequate to assess the safety of these new technologies. They therefore suggest the development of a special testing and regulatory framework to assess the safety of such RNAi-based pesticides and GM crops. Other scientists have previously highlighted how regulators have not assessed the safety of these RNAi-based pesticides and GM plants, and have developed and provided a safety testing procedure for such crops and products (See BIS, 25 March 2013: New kinds of GM plants and pesticides not being assessed for safety).
With best wishes,
Third World Network
131 Jalan Macalister
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RNA-interference pesticides will need special safety testing
A new technology for creating pesticides and pest-resistant crops could have effects on beneficial species that current toxicity testing will miss
Press release, American Institute of Biological Sciences, 16 Jul 2013