Laboratory and Industrial Use
All genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are first developed in laboratories and some are designed never to be released into the wider environment. Others are used in industrial processing. Because they are not deliberately released into the environment, they are said to be 'contained'. The most recent controversy about the creation of GM organisms in labs is so-called 'synthetic biology' where scientists have begun to create or recreate microorganisms from scratch - by joining pieces of DNA together. GeneWatch is working for more societal debate about whether or not this should be allowed and under what conditions. The more common contained uses of GMOs include:
- In research to understand how animals, plants and microorganisms function and to understand and develop treatments for disease;
- In product development of GM crops, animals or bacteria;
- In factories using GM bacteria and yeasts to produce :
- industrial enzymes, such as those used in detergents;
- enzymes for food manufacture, such as renin for cheese production;
- drugs, such as insulin.
In Europe, all laboratory and factory uses of GMOs are regulated by the EU Contained Use Directive. Read more about:
- the Contained Use regulations only
- regulations for all GM crops and plants (including contained use regulations)
In 2013, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plans to launch a consultation on the contained use regulations. Industry has been lobbying to create a loophole to allow GM micro-organisms, synthetic biology products and GM fish and insects to be released into the environment on an industrial scale under the Constained Use regulations. Read more here.
- Press articles
- Press Releases
- GeneWatch PR: Global Coalition Sounds the Alarm on Synthetic Biology,Demands Oversight and Societal Debate 19th May 2006
- GeneWatch PR: GM experiments to create new life forms could take place in the UK without public debate, GeneWatch UK warns 22nd November 2002
- GeneWatch PR: Massive public support for tighter control of GM waste 10th January 2000
- GeneWatch PR: GM micro-organisms released into the environment every day across the uk, says new GeneWatch UK report 28th June 1999
- GeneWatch PR: GM Could be Used in up to 90% of Processed Food, Says GeneWatch UK 15th February 1999
Health And Safety Executive (HSE): The SACGM Compendium of guidance
This page gives a guide to legislation on contained use of GMOs and access to the publications produced by the HSE
Information systems for Biotechnology
Based in the USA and part of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. This website provides information on GM plant, animal and micro-organism development and the regulations surrounding these activities in the USA.
National Institutes of Health
Office of Biotechnology Activities
A Danish based enzyme company that was formed as a de-merger from NovoNordisk in 2000. Much of their work involves the production of enzymes using GM micro-organisms.
HSE Scientific Advisory Committee on Genetic Modification (SACGM)
Advises government on issues relating to the contained use of GMOs
- Health And Safety Executive (HSE): The SACGM Compendium of guidance