Canola varieties are marketed as non-transgenic – but are GMOs
Cibus's new herbicide-tolerant canola varieties, marketed under the brand name Falco (see article below), are described by the company as non-transgenic, meaning that the genetic engineering processes used to develop them do not involve introducing foreign genetic material.
However, the definitions of a GMO under EU law and the international Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety do not specify the origin of the genetic material in the crop plant in question – it can come from the same species or another species.
Cibus used CRISPR gene editing and its own RTDS (Rapid Trait Development System) techniques to generate Falco canola. Both are genetic modification techniques and entail the same risks as older-style transgenic GMOs.
So Cibus's new canola varieties are GMOs.
For more information on these techniques, see GMO Myths and Truths.
While we are sold gene-editing techniques on the promise of new desirable traits like high yield and pest- and disease-resistance, Falco canola is just the latest in a long line of herbicide-tolerant GMOs – just like the vast majority of the older-style transgenic GMOs.
Cibus launches new canola varieties under seed brand Falco
By Top Crop Manager
Top Crop Manager, February 11, 2019
Cibus, a U.S. biotechnology company, announced the launch of its new seed brand, Falco, offering North American canola growers four new canola varieties for the 2019 growing season, with additional varieties planned for next season.
The hybrids are sulfonylurea herbicide-tolerant and non-transgenic, meaning the hybrids were bred without using foreign genetic material (genetic material from a different species). In a previous release, Cibus said the major benefit of SU-tolerant canola was its ability to fit into rotations, especially with Round Up Ready soybeans, and control weeds that are tolerant to Roundup.
“Cibus plans to launch multiple stacked traits in its Falco seed during the next several years, including pod-shatter shatter tolerance, tolerance to multiple herbicides and resistance to disease,” said Peter Beetham, Cibus co-founder.
Canola growers have the opportunity sell their Falco grain via premium contracts in Canada and the U.S. through relationships Cibus has established with North American grain crushers. Cibus’ new variety has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada for sale in Canada in 2017.
Varieties available for the 2019 growing season include 68K in both Canada and the U.S., in addition to 32K and 40K in the U.S. All varieties offer sulfonylurea herbicide tolerance and premium contract opportunities through preferred partners.