The African Center for Biodiversity warns that the South African government recently received an application for use of a new variety of GM Maize.
The African Center for Biodiversity(ACB) warns in an alert published August 10th, that the South African government recently received an application for the import, feed and processing of a new variety of GM Maize, MON87411. This GM Maize is a “multi-stacked variety” meaning it is created through conventional breeding of four distinct genetically modified varieties of maize. Unlike standard first-generation GMOs, this variety uses something called the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway, which means that double-stranded RNAs are introduced into the gene which work to silence certain genes. The new gene editing technique has not been properly assessed for risk before applying to go to the market, according to the ACB’s knowledge of Monsanto’s risk assessment procedure, and ACB lists the potential risks to include possible exposure following consumption, or the potential for off-target regulation of unintended genetic pathways. Such GMOs are the latest in the GM push on the wider African continent. Nigeria has recently received an application for the field trials of a GM cassava variety that also use RNAi to reduce the amount of starch in cassava, with the purported aim of preventing starch breakdown during storage. Read the ACB’s full report here.