Munich/Calgary – Today Testbiotech has published a global overview of countries where there has been an uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered oilseed rape (canola). The countries include Canada, the US, Japan, Australia, and Europe. In many cases the plants have escaped far beyond the fields into the environment. In some cases, the transgenes have moved into populations of wild relatives. Furthermore, new combinations of DNA constructs have been found which were never approved for release into the environment. The overview has been published to coincide with the international conference (ABIC) in Calgary, where agro-biotech industry representatives are gathering.
“Canada grows genetically engineered oilseed rape on a large scale. For about ten years it has been known that these plants are spreading uncontrolled into the environment. But so far no measures have been taken to stop them“, Christoph Then says for Testbiotech. “What we are observing is a lack of accepting responsibility especially on the part of industry.”
The consequences of allowing genetically engineered plants to spread with no spatio-temporal control can not be predicted. Reliable risk assessment on an evolutionary scale is not feasible. For example climate change can cause unexpected interactions between the plants and the environment. Once adverse effects become noticeable it might be too late for taking action. The plants can no longer be removed from the environment.