Experts urge caution over biotech that can wipe out insect pests

L. Fauvel,  Phys Org,  2022.

Dozens of scientists, experts and campaigners called for a ban on the release of genetically-edited organisms into the wild, in a statement Friday warning of potentially severe risks to the world’s pollinators. The appeal was launched at crunch biodiversity talks in Montreal, where delegates from almost all the world’s countries were meeting to negotiate a strategy to halt human environmental destruction, which threatens the natural life support systems of the planet. A host of new genome-editing tools that modify the genetic material of living beings have emerged in recent years, and are being researched and developed largely to target insects and plants in agriculture. Supporters argue that they could help human health, agriculture and even species conservation. But their use in the wild carries “understudied risks which could accelerate the decline of pollinator populations and put entire food webs at risk,” according to the letter drafted by the French non-governmental organization Pollinis.

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