Legal opinion: Monsanto’s activities have negative impact on basic human rights

On Tuesday April 18th the five international judges of the Monsanto Tribunal presented their legal opinion. They have come to important conclusions, both on the conduct of Monsanto and on necessary developments in international law.

The judges conclude that Monsanto has engaged in practices which have negatively impacted the right to a healthy environment, the right to food and the right to health. On top of that Monsanto's conduct is negatively affecting the right to freedom indispensable for scientific research. These are very important and well-funded legal conclusions that can be of great help to the victims of Monsanto worldwide.

The judges also conclude that despite the development of many instruments to protect the environment, a gap remains between commitments and the reality of environmental protection. International law should be improved for better protection of the environment and include the crime of ecocide. The Tribunal concludes that if such a crime of ecocide were recognized in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could possibly constitute a crime of ecocide.

Finally, in the third and last part of the advisory opinion, the Tribunal focusses on the widening gap between international human rights law and corporate accountability. It strongly advises the United Nations to take action to make sure that human and environmental rights are protected by (international) laws and are not overruled by trade agreements. It should be made possible to prosecute multinational corporations in the International Criminal Court.

Find here on the "Results" page of our website the full text and the summary of the advisory legal opinion delivered by the Monsanto Tribunal judges in The Hague.

DNA damage and methylation induced by glyphosate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells

Please cite this article as: Kwiatkowska, M., Reszka, E., Woźniak, K., Jabłońska, E., Michałowicz, J., Bukowska, B., DNA damage and methylation induced by glyphosate in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (in vitro study), Food and Chemical Toxicology (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.03.051.

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Glyphosate Exposure and Increased Frequency of Cancer in Argentina

Glyphosate Exposure and Increased Frequency of Cancer in Argentina

In 1996, Argentina began to grow genetically modified (GM) crops, which currently cover 25 million hectares on which 12 million people live. These crops have generated a substantial increase in pesticide use. In 2013, Argentina sprayed 240,000 tons of glyphosate.

The town of Monte Maiz lies at the heart of Argentina’s agricultural area, where soy, maize, and wheat are grown. In recent years, local governmental authorities along with local residents and doctors have been worried about an apparent increase in the number of people suffering from cancer, in particular since the introduction of GM herbicide-resistant crops and the massive use of glyphosate in conjunction. The Mayor and residents of Monte Maiz requested an environmental health study.

Read more: Glyphosate Exposure and Increased Frequency of Cancer in Argentina

'Golden Rice': Unexpected genomic effects

15 February 2017 / A new publication has reported unintended effects in genetically engineered rice producing precursors of vitamin A, so-called carotenoids. Crossing the manipulated rice with the Indian variety Swarna led to a nasty surprise: The resulting plants showed extensive disturbance in their growth. The researchers identified several reasons for this: The new gene constructs interfere with the plant’s own gene for producing growth hormones, and the additional gene constructs were not, as intended, active solely in the kernels, but also in the leaves. This led to a substantial reduction in the content of chlorophyll that is essential for vital functions in the plants.

https://www.testbiotech.org/en/node/1859

Molecular and Functional Characterization of GR2-R1 Event Based Backcross Derived Lines of Golden Rice in the Genetic Background of a Mega Rice Variety Swarna

Homozygous Golden Rice lines developed in the background of Swarna through marker assisted backcross breeding (MABB) using transgenic GR2-R1 event as a donor for the provitamin A trait have high levels of provitamin A (up to 20 ppm) but are dwarf with pale green leaves and drastically reduced panicle size, grain number and yield as compared to the recurrent parent, Swarna. In this study, we carried out detailed morphological, biochemical and molecular characterization of these lines in a quest to identify the probable reasons for their abnormal phenotype. Nucleotide blast analysis with the primer sequences used to amplify the transgene revealed that the integration of transgene disrupted the native OsAux1 gene, which codes for an auxin transmembrane transporter protein. Real time expression analysis of the transgenes (ZmPsy and CrtI) driven by endosperm-specific promoter revealed the leaky expression of the transgene in the vegetative tissues. We propose that the disruption of OsAux1 disturbed the fine balance of plant growth regulators viz., auxins, gibberellic acid and abscisic acid, leading to the abnormalities in the growth and development of the lines homozygous for the transgene. The study demonstrates the conserved roles of OsAux1 gene in rice and Arabidopsis.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169600

TWN Biosafety Info: Assessment of Stacked Bt Soybean Overlooks Potential Health Risks

Contents:

THIRD WORLD NETWORK BIOSAFETY INFORMATION SERVICE

Dear Friends and Colleagues

Assessment of Stacked Bt Soybean Overlooks Potential Health Risks

In June 2012, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approved, for the first time, genetically engineered stacked soybean MON87701 × MON89788, produced by Monsanto and sold under the brand name Intacta, for import and use in food and feed in the EU. The soybeans combine the expression of an insecticidal Bt toxin, Cry1Ac, present in the parental event MON87701, with herbicide resistance to glyphosate from parental event MON89788.

Read more: TWN Biosafety Info: Assessment of Stacked Bt Soybean Overlooks Potential Health Risks

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