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.
- A DNA database in the NHS?
A new GeneWatch UK report details the Government's plans to build a DNA database in the NHS by stealth. The plan would allow every individual and their relatives to be tracked and the data will be sold to private companies, such as Google, for commercial exploitation without people's knowledge or consent. Read the press release and article in Public Service Europe.
If you are concerned about this plan you can contact your MP.
- European consultation on GM animals
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published its Guidance for the risk assessment of GM animals in Europe (adopted last month), opening the door to commercial production and releases or escapes of GM insects, birds, fish, farm animals and pets. The Guidance still fails to properly address the issue of GM insects in the food chain. Read the GeneWatch press release. In January, GM insects company Oxitec applied to make large-scale experimental releases of GM Mediterannean fruit flies in orchards in Brazil.
- Genes and Marketing
For more than a decade, GeneWatch UK has exposed companies making misleading claims about genetic test results. The EU's new IVD (In-Vitro Diagnostics) draft Regulation is supposed to regulate genetic tests but is effectively meaningless as it provides no regulatory check of the companies' claims. Read the GeneWatch UK briefing.
If adopted by the European Parliament, the new Regulation is likely to be used by commercial lobbyists in US-EU Free-trade negotatiations to undermine attempts by the FDA to regulate genetic tests in the United States, including those sold by Google's gene test company 23andMe.
- GM Crops and Food
The Observer has reported on the decision by most supermarkets to switch using Monsanto's GM soya as animal feed for chicken and eggs. Only Waitrose has kept a policy of using non-GM feed. GM Freeze has posted an action for people to take to write to supermarkets. You can also write to your MP.
- The UK Police National DNA Database
The Government has reported significant progress in deleting 1,136,000 innocent people's DNA profiles from the National DNA Database and destroying 6,341,000 DNA samples. It has also published the latest Annual Report on the National DNA Database and a further report covering 2009-2011.
However, the Guardian has reported that thousands of children are still having their DNA collected and retained by police.
- GM fish
Read GeneWatch UK's submission to the FDA's consultation on AquaBounty's GM salmon.
- GM animals
Researchers are genetically modifying animals including farm animals, birds, fish and insects. Many of these animals will end up in the food chain unless consumers oppose this. Read the Daily Mail.
Compassion in World farming has issued a press release on why GM pigs will not feed the world.
- GM insects
Third World Network has published an updated version of GeneWatch UK's briefing on GM mosquitoes in their biosafety series. You can download the briefing or buy a hard copy here.
- Patents on seeds
To oppose patents being granted in Europe on plants such as tomatoes, broccoli and melons, sign the Avaaz petition.
- International DNA databases
GeneWatch UK, the Council for Responsible Genetics and Privacy International are working together on the Forensics Genetics Policy Initiative to develop international standards in this area. Visit our website.
- GM Contamination Register
An on-line database of incidents of GM contamination, illegal releases and adverse agricultural side-effects run by GeneWatch UK and Greenpeace.