Time : 2016-17-02 Author : From :
|1、What is gene?
2、What is biotechnology?
3、What is a Living Modified Organism (LMO)?
4、What is biosafety?
5、What are some potential benefits of biotechnology?
6、What are some potential risks of biotechnology?
7、Why do we need an international biosafety agreement?
8、What is the objective of the Protocol?
9、When did China sign and ratify the Protocol?
10、What are biosafety regulations in China?
11、What are the biosafety management systems in China?
12、What is the "precautionary approach"?
13、What is the Advance Informed Agreement (AIA) Procedure?
14、What is the procedure for LMOs intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing?
15、What is the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH)?
16、What is the status of transgenic crop plantation?
17、What kinds of transgenic organisms have been approved for commercial production in China?
18、What kinds of transgenic organisms need to be labeled in China?
|1、What is gene?
Gene is the basic unit of inheritance for all living organisms.
|2、What is biotechnology?
The term `biotechnology' refers to any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for a specific use. Biotechnology, in the form of traditional fermentation techniques, has been used for decades to make
bread, cheese or beer. It has also been the basis of traditional animal and plant breeding techniques, such as hybridization and the selection of plants and animals with specific characteristics to create, for example, crops which produce higher yields of grain.
Modern biotechnology means the application of: (a) in vitro nucleic acid techniques, including recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, or (b) fusion of cells beyond the taxonomic family, that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers and that are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection.
|3、What is a Living Modified Organism (LMO)?
A Living Modified Organism (LMO) is defined in the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety as any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology. In everyday usage LMOs are usually considered to be the same as GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), but definitions and interpretations of the term GMO vary widely. Common LMOs include agricultural crops that have been genetically modified for greater productivity or for resistance to pests or diseases. Examples of modified crops include tomatoes, cassava, corn, cotton and soybeans.。
|4、What is biosafety?
Biosafety is a term used to describe efforts to reduce and eliminate the potential risks resulting from biotechnology and its products.
|5、What are some potential benefits of biotechnology?
Genetic engineering promises remarkable advances in medicine, agriculture, and other fields. These may include new medical treatments and vaccines, new industrial products, and improved fibres and fuels. Proponents of the technology argue that biotechnology has the potential to lead to increases in food security, decreased pressure on land use, sustainable yield increase in marginal lands or inhospitable environments and reduced use of water and agrochemicals in agriculture.
|6、What are some potential risks of biotechnology?
Biotechnology is a very new field, and much about the interaction of LMOs with various ecosystems is not yet known. Some of the concerns about the new technology include its potential adverse effects on biological diversity, and potential risks to human health. Potential areas of concern might be unintended changes in the competitiveness, virulence, or other characteristics of the target species; the possibility of adverse impacts on non-target species (such as beneficial insects) and ecosystems; the potential for weediness in genetically modified crops (where a plant becomes more invasive than the original, perhaps by transferring its genes to wild relatives); and the stability of inserted genes (the possibilities that a gene will lose its effectiveness or will be re-transferred to another host).
|7、Why do we need an international biosafety agreement?
While advances in biotechnology have great potential for significant improvements in human well-being, they must be developed and used with adequate safety measures for the environment and human health. The objectives of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity are "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources." When developing the Convention, the negotiators recognized that biotechnology can make a contribution towards achieving the objectives of the Convention, if developed and used with adequate safety measures for the environment and human health. The Contracting Parties agreed to consider the need to develop appropriate procedures to address the safe transfer, handling and use of any LMO resulting from biotechnology that may have adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
|8、What is the objective of the Protocol?
In accordance with the precautionary approach contained in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the objective of the Protocol is to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specifically focusing on transboundary movements.
|9、When did China sign and ratify the Protocol?
The Chinese government pays much attention to biosafety issue. China signed the Protocol on August 8, 2000, ratified it on April 27, 2005, and became the Party of the Protocol on September 6, 2005.
|10、What are biosafety regulations in China?
In 1996, China issued the Safety Administration Regulation on Genetic Engineering and launched the biosafety management of LMOs. The State Council promulgated the Regulation of Biosafety Management on Agricultural Transgenic Organisms on May 23, 2001. The Ministry of Agriculture issued three implementation regulations, i.e. the Implementation Regulation on Safety Assessment of Agricultural Genetically Modified Organisms, the Implementation Regulation on the Safety of Import of Agricultural Genetically Modified Organisms, and the Implementation Regulation on Labeling of Agricultural Genetically Modified Organisms on January 5, 2002.
|11、What are the biosafety management systems in China?
The biosafety management systems in China are safety assessment system, labeling system, production and trade permission system, and import safety regulation system.
| 12、What is the "precautionary approach"?
One of the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (also known as the Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992, was the adoption of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which contains 27 principles to underpin sustainable development. One of these principles is Principle 15 which states that "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation."
|13、What is the Advance Informed Agreement (AIA) Procedure?
The "Advance Informed Agreement" (AIA) procedure applies to the first intentional transboundary movement of LMOs for intentional introduction into the environment of the Party of import. It includes four components: notification by the Party of export or the exporter, acknowledgment of receipt of notification by the Party of import, decision procedure and review of decisions. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that importing countries have both the opportunity and the capacity to assess risks that may be associated with the LMO before agreeing to its import.
Specifically, the Party of export or the exporter must notify the Party of import by providing a detailed, written description of the LMO in advance of the first shipment. The Party of import is to acknowledge receipt of this information within 90 days. Then, within 270 days of the date of receipt of notification, the Party of import must communicate its decision: (i) approving the import, (ii) prohibiting the import, (iii) requesting additional relevant information, or (iv) extending the 270 days by a defined period of time.
|14、What is the procedure for LMOs intended for direct use as food or feed, or for processing?
LMOs intended for direct use as food or feed, or processing (LMOs-FFP) represent a large category of agricultural commodities. The Protocol, instead of using the AIA procedure, establishes a more simplified procedure for the transboundary movement of LMOs-FFP. Under this procedure, a Party must inform other Parties through the Biosafety Clearing-House, within 15 days, of its decision regarding domestic use of LMOs that may be subject to transboundary movement.
Decisions by the Party of import on whether or not to accept the import of LMOs-FFP are taken under its domestic regulatory framework that is consistent with the objective of the Protocol. A developing country Party or a Party with an economy in transition may, in the absence of a domestic regulatory framework, declare through the Biosafety Clearing-House that its decisions on the first import of LMOs-FFP will be taken in accordance with risk assessment as set out in the Protocol and timeframe for decision-making.
In case of insufficient relevant scientific information and knowledge, the Party of import may use precaution in making their decisions on the import of LMOs-FFP.
|15、What is the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH)?
The Protocol established a Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) as part of the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention, in order to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, environmental and legal information on, and experience with, living modified organisms; and to assist Parties to implement the Protocol.
|16、What is the status of transgenic crop plantation?
The plantation area of transgenic crops increase very fast, from 1.7 million ha in 1996 to 8.1 million ha in 2004, 46 times more in 9 years.
|2004: 14 Countries 14 with plantation area of transgenic crops more than 50 thousand ha
Data sources: Clive James, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, 2004
|17、What kinds of transgenic organisms have been approved for commercial production in China?
China launched the risk assessment of LMOs in 1997. By the end of 2004, 1009 applications were received, in which 807 applications were approved, including176 for safety certificate for commercial production, 141 for productive testing, 157 for enlarged field-testing, 333 for restricted field-testing. About 200 institutions were involved in the development and use of LMOs, with more than 60 crop varieties and 150 genes. The commercialized transgenic organisms include Bt cotton, poplar with pest resistance, delayed ripening tomato, disease-resistant tomato, disease-resistant sweet pepper, and color-altered petunia. Currently, there is no transgenic food or oil crop that is approved for commercial production. The plantation area of transgenic cotton in China reached 3. 7 million ha, accounting for 56% of total cotton plantation area in China.
|18、What kinds of transgenic organisms need to be labeled in China?
Transgenic organisms that are listed in the labeling catalog and for placing on the market in China should be labeled, according the stipulation of the Regulation of Biosafety Management on Agricultural Transgenic Organisms. The first group of agricultural transgenic organisms that are required to be labeled are: (1) soybean seeds, soybeans, soybean flour, soybean oil, and soybean meal; (2) corn seeds, corn, corn oil, corn flour; (3) rape seeds, rape, rape oil and rape meal; (4) cotton seeds; (5) tomato seeds, fresh tomatoes and tomato sauce.