European Parliament adopts text on biodiversity, calls for no releases of gene drive organisms

Third World Network,  TWN Biosafety Briefing,  2021.

Gene drive technologies, such as GM mosquitoes for the control of vector-borne diseases, pose serious and novel threats for the environment and nature, including irreversible changes to food chains and ecosystems, and losses of biodiversity, on which the world’s poorest depend for their livelihoods; therefore reiterates concern about the new legal, environmental, biosafety and governance challenges that might arise from the release of genetically engineered gene drive organisms into the environment, including for nature conservation purposes; reiterates that the free, prior and informed consent of IPLCs must be sought and obtained prior to the release of any technologies which may impact on their traditional knowledge, innovation, practices, livelihoods and use of land, resources and water; stresses that this must be done in a participatory manner involving all potentially affected communities prior to any deployment. Given that gene drive technologies raise concerns about the difficulties of predicting their behaviour, and that gene drive organisms could become invasive species; therefore considers that no releases of genetically engineered gene drive organisms should be permitted, including for nature conservation purposes, in line with the precautionary principle.

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