viernes, marzo 21, 2014

RNAi–based Pesticides and GM Crops Will Need Special Safety Testing
Publication date: March 19, 2014  


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
10400 Penang
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Item 1 
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

Item 2 
RNAi-based insecticidal crops: Potential effects on nontarget species 
Jonathan G. Lundgren and Jian J. Duan
Bioscience 63, Aug 2013: 657-665
The potential hazards posed by RNA interference (RNAi)–based pesticides and genetically modified crops to nontarget organisms include off-target gene silencing, silencing the target gene in unintended organisms, immune stimulation, and saturation of the RNAi machinery. Non-target organisms will vary in their exposure to small RNAs produced by genetically modified crops at a previously unrealized scale. Areas that warrant future work include the persistence of insecticidal small RNAs in the environment, describing crop-based food webs to understand those species that are most exposed, sequencing genomes for species to proactively understand those that may be affected by RNAi, and substantiating that laboratory toxicity testing can accurately predict the field-level effects of this technology. The costs and benefits of pesticidal RNA must be considered relative to current pest management options as pesticidal RNAs move from a theoretical approach to being used as a practical tool.

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