In Europe and the USA, petunias are being withdrawn from the market. They are not a danger, but German authorities have just asked traders and flower enthusiasts to destroy lawn and orange petunias of different varieties and dispose of them professionally. Their striking colors - usually a strong orange - are a product of genetic engineering.
CRISPR / CAS - state of affairs
The "revolution of genetic engineering" (scientific journal Science: "Breakthrough of the Year 2015") of recent years is still strongly controversial. The editing of genomes becomes much more efficient with the new technology, adapted by bacteria, the possibilities thereby become larger. There was an enormous potential of possibilities for the scientists. However, with increasing potential, the criticism of the new method was also becoming ever greater - CRISPR / CAS polarized. While, on the one hand, interest in the new possibilities prevails, there are more and more critical voices, which denounce the unknown errors of the procedures, the problems of animal welfare, consequences for the biodiversity and the lack of comprehensive regulation.
As early as August 2016, an EU Commission should make an assessment as to when and under what circumstances genetically induced mutations are subject to genetic engineering legislation. This has not happened to this day. Meanwhile, the French government has turned to the ECJ, which now has to examine and evaluate this issue. A ruling in this case is expected in spring 2018.
In the meantime, a study has been published that reports problems with experiments with mice. For example, the number of unwanted mutations in mice treated with CRISPR / CAS was estimated to be in part up to 1500. In addition, complete gene sections were both removed and supplemented.
The publication of this data initially caused an outcry. However, many of the voices fell silent once a former employee of the implementing working group expressed doubts about the scientific usability of the study. Serious scientific errors would have been made; e.g. no untreated control mice were carried as "negative control". It is not clear what causes the unwanted mutations. It is also unclear whether the mice did not carry the mutations in the genome before the experiment.
It remains to be seen how the ECJ will decide next spring - a forecast can not be given.