Welcome to GeneWatch UK

GeneWatch UK is a not-for-profit group that monitors developments in genetic technologies from a public interest, human rights, environmental protection and animal welfare perspective. GeneWatch believes people should have a voice in whether or how these technologies are used and campaigns for safeguards for people, animals and the environment. We work on all aspects of genetic technologies - from GM crops and foods to genetic testing of humans.

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Topics

  • International DNA databases

    Read the new report by the Forensic Genetics Policy Initiative: Establishing Best Practice for DNA databases. This report was developed using an innovative consultative approach. The final report reflects input from civil society groups around the world from a human rights perspective.

  • GM insects

    Oxitec's GM diamondback moths are being released for the first time in open experiments at Cornell University's research station in New York State. Read the GeneWatch UK press release.

    New evidence showing the ineffectiveness and risks of Oxitec's GM mosquitoes has been released in the Cayman Islands. Read the updated GeneWatch UK briefing and press release about a proposed expansion of open release GM mosquito trials in the Cayman Islands.

  • Commercial interests

    As the major GM companies begin a period of consolidation, concerns have been raised about even greater monopoly control over seeds. See GeneWatch UK's Open Letter to the EU's Competition Commissioner. See also the petition against the merger between Syngenta and the Chinese Government-owned ChemChina.

  • Patents on seeds

    In a long awaited explanatory statement, the EU Commission has said that plants and animals that are obtained by means of "essentially biological" breeding are non-patentable. Read the press release from No Patents on Seeds.

    In contrast, the European Patent Office has previously backed patents on conventional plants, in landmark cases on broccoli and tomatoes.

  • New Genetic Engineering Techniques

    Read the joint statement on "gene drives" presented at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Read the resolution and press release from the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD).

  • GM Crops and Food

    The use of the weedkiller glyphosate (Monsanto's brandname RoundUp) is becoming increasingly controversial. RoundUp is blanket sprayed on Roundup Ready GM crops grown in North and South America. Read the article in the Huffington Post.

    Syngenta's RoundUp Ready GA21 maize is the only remaining GM crop in the commercial pipeline for EU cultivation that would be suitable for growing in England or Flanders (Belgium): areas of northern European countries which grow maize and have not used the opt out. This crop is awaiting approval by the EU.

    GM Freeze and thirty-two other organisations have come together to voice their concerns about a proposed GM potato trial at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich.

  • A DNA database in the NHS?

    Google subsidiary DeepMind has been given access to NHS patient data from millions of Londoners, without patients' knowledge or consent. Read the 2013 GeneWatch UK report about how the Government plans to share NHS medical records and genetic information from every patient with companies like Google.

    For more information on sharing of NHS medical records, visit Medconfidential.

  • Genes and Marketing

    A study has found that communicating the results of DNA tests to patients has little or no impact on unhealthy lifestyles.

    The EU has adopted new regulations for medical tests, including genetic tests, known as the In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) Regulation. However it is unclear if this will be implemented in the UK after Brexit. The regulation requires companies to provide evidence of the claims they make about a person's risk of developing disease.

    Superdrug is selling unregulated genetic tests by the Google-funded company 23andMe, which have been banned in the USA. Read the GeneWatch UK press release and the Guardian article.

    Read about concerns about the tests in the Times (subscription required).

  • GM fish

    In the USA, the FDA has approved GM salmon for use as food: the first time a GM animal has been allowed into the food chain. The GM salmon eggs will be produced by the company AquaBounty in Canada, shopped to Panama for growing in an on-land facility, and then shipped as dead fish products to the US market, where they are not required to be labelled as GM. Environmentalists are concerned about the impacts on wild salmon if the GM fish escape, including if GM fish eggs are accidentally or deliberately diverted to fish farms elsewhere in the world. The Center for Food Safety has stated it will bring a legal case against the decision.

  • GM and Cloned Mammals

    The Guardian reports that a UK couple have cloned their dead dog.

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