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(35,773 posts)
Thu Apr 28, 2016, 06:55 PM Apr 2016



"European activists opposing all forms of modern genetics have a new defector. The heretic is no other than Urs Niggli, for more than 25 years Director of the Switzerland-based Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (Das Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL). FiBL is one of the world’s leading organic farming information and research centers located in Switzerland with branches in Germany and Austria. It is internationally respected for its research in the organic agricultural community and beyond. While FiBL has been among the first outspoken critics of genetic engineering in the past (and claims responsibility for the GMO ban installed in Switzerland), it’s director now has adopted a more balanced view. But when he spoke out in an interview in the German-language newspaper Die Tageszeitung taz, published April 6, Niggli found himself in the focus of a shitstorm by NGOs and lobby groups of organic agriculture. At present, he no longer speaks to the media. (article est disponible en Frenche ici.)

Niggli’s capital crime: He spoke in favor of CRISPR/cas, a violation of the central dogma of the European organic movement that all technologies developed by modern genetics are unnatural and inherently evil. CRISPR/cas, a novel, simple and very elegant method for precisely targeted interventions in the genome is a natural process discovered in bacteria. While it is not more unnatural than the process of cloning and grafting popular among breeders since ancient Greece (and probably before) and can be performed similarly cheap and easy, for anti-GMO NGOs and organic lobby groups this natural process is viewed as even more dangerous than traditional genetic engineering as it can be applied without leaving any traces.

In Europe, the EU is on the brink of deciding on how to deal with CRISP/cas, and the anti-GMO lobby is heavily campaigning against any regulation that would allow breeders to use the technology or companies to bring CRISPR/cas-generated plants on the market. To create a new and increased level of fear, the lobbyists have coined the term „extreme genetic engineering.“

They are very well aware that any differentiation between technologies allowing for genome interventions will destroy their narrative of „natural“ vs. „unnatural.“ Interestingly, when advocates of genetic engineering in plants educated the public about the chemical and radiation breeding technologies used in conventional and even organic breeding, organic breeders announced they would also abandon those technologies and stick to „natural“ mutations (they employ molecular genetic technologies for trait screening though).



Ruh roh.

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Heretic! progressoid Apr 2016 #1
It does remind me of life in these here parts. HuckleB Apr 2016 #2
"a violation of the central dogma of the European organic movement" yellowcanine May 2016 #3
Yeah, but he's not addressing the US side of things. HuckleB May 2016 #4


(49,952 posts)
1. Heretic!
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 03:42 AM
Apr 2016

Like his final paragraph.

All in all, these reactions are not reactions found in rational discourse but reactions common in cults and religions: heretics must renounce or be punished and expelled and their deviant thoughts can only be explained by temptation, either by the devil, pure science, or big ag.


(35,696 posts)
3. "a violation of the central dogma of the European organic movement"
Wed May 11, 2016, 04:39 PM
May 2016

Not just the European organic movement. "GMOs" were prohibited from USDA organic certification standards also under pressure from the U.S. organic movement.

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