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Argentina: Transgenic HB4 approved for commercialisation despite potential negative side effects

"Transgenic HB4 wheat approved in Argentina has negative side effects", 18th November 2020

...The approval of the new Argentine transgenic wheat HB4 for commercialization has been subject of debate, rejection and expectations since the publication of an official bulletin from the country's Ministry of Agriculture. The document describes the reasons for the controversy: the IND-ØØ412-7 seed, the scientific name of the plant developed by biochemist Raquel Chan, which is tolerant of the potent ammonium glufosinate herbicide.

HB4 is still pending approval by Brazil, the main buyer of Argentine wheat. Despite garnering news attention by being a national technological advance and the novelty of possibly being, the first transgenic wheat commercialized in the world, HB4 was not widely accepted in the country.

In addition to the negative reaction in civil society, in a survey conducted by the Brazilian Wheat Industry Association (Abitrigo) with Brazilian millers, 85% were against the use of genetically modified (GM) wheat and "90% said they were willing to stop their purchases of Argentine wheat ".

Other technologies like HB4 have been discontinued for the same reason. This was the case for transgenic wheat developed by Monsanto in 2004, resistant to glyphosate.

The scientific community and environmentalists were already aware of the possibility of its approval, since two of the five Argentine entities in charge of authorizing its sale had previously given the green light, once in 2016, through the National Agro-Food Service (Senasa) and again in 2018, via the Commission National Biotechnology (Conabia)...