Quarterly Update – Edition 5

  • Council activity
  • Key issues
  • In the pipeline
  • Resources
  • For information
  • Events


ABCA sponsored the NSW Farmer’s Association Annual Conference held in Sydney in July. Ken Matthews, ABCA’s Chairman, delivered a keynote address at the conference, calling for the supporters of biotechnology to become better champions for the technology.

Mr Matthews said that biotechnology provides a critical opportunity to lift productivity in Australian agriculture over the next 20 years and biotechnology will continue to attract suspicion and opposition from parts of the community which will slow its development.

During his presentation Mr Matthews outlined the success of biotechnology for cotton and canola growers, and he presented a plan of action to progress the uptake of biotechnology in Australia. This plan involved building understanding of the potential benefits of biotechnology to farmers, consumers, the environment and society; building community confidence in Australia’s biotechnology regulatory arrangements; ending the state government moratoria; and demonstrating the feasibility of co-existence.

Further information:



ABCA sponsored a ‘Farming the Future’ forum as part of the Pastoralists and Graziers’ Association (PGA) Annual Convention in Perth in August. Speakers included: Dr Andrew Jacobs, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics; Professor Rick Roush, University of Melbourne, Dr David Tribe, University of Melbourne; and Tress Walmsley, CEO, Intergrain.

Further information:



ABCA is also a sponsor at the upcoming “Agriculture & Food Biotechnology Symposium – Where is Australia’s Global Niche?” hosted by AusBiotech on the Gold Coast next month.

The ABCA-sponsored session titled, “Second generation crops for sustainable agriculture” will be officiated by ABCA’s Chair, Ken Matthews, and the speakers are:

  • Dr Channapatna Prakash, Professor, Crop Genetics, Biotechnology and Genomics Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tuskgee University USA
  • Prof Frikkie Botha, Executive Manager – Research, Sugar Research Australia
  • David Hudson, Managing Director, SGA Solutions Pty Ltd

The symposium will also feature sessions on agricultural biotechnology developments in livestock and horticulture. See ‘Events’ section for further details.

Further information:



The Official Australian Reference Guide to Agricultural Biotechnology and GM Crops, developed and launched by ABCA earlier this year, has proven to be a popular resource and is currently being reviewed and updated in preparation for a second edition print run.

Further information:



ABCA is on twitter at @info_ABCA, and the following hash tags are being used to promote the coexistence campaign: #coexistence #gmo #ausag #agchatoz

Further information:


InterGrain Chief Executive Officer Tress Walmsley told attendees at a recent PGA GM Forum sponsored by ABCA, that GM wheat remained a decade away, but the industry was laying the groundwork for the technology’s introduction when the market was ready.

Ms Walmsley said that it will cost in the order of between $50 million and $100 million to bring the first wheat trait to market, and because of this cost, it was unlikely to be an Australian-owned approach, but rather the whole international community working together.

“Things like the tri-party agreement between Australia, Canada and the US is a really solid fundamental step for us to take.”

Ms Walmsley said InterGrain was yet to launch into biotechnology. “We are focused on using our current conventional breeding methods to make sure we’ve got the best broadly adapted high yielding germplasm, so that when we’ve actually got [GM] traits that we want to take to market, we can put it into very solidly performing germplasm for the Australian environment.”

Ms Walmsley said the Australian grains industry needed to decide whether Australia wanted to have the technology at the same time as the US and Canada, and the industry needed to establish an adventitious presence level for wheat, and a GM Grain Committee has been convened by Grain Trade Australia to consider this and other supply chain issues surrounding the future introduction of GM wheat.

Further information:



A controversial study published in The Food and Chemical Toxicology journal in 2012 by Gilles Seralini et al, and then sensationally retracted, has now been re-published in another online journal, Environmental Sciences Europe.

The study alleged that GM corn and associated herbicides caused tumours and organ damage, and led to premature death in laboratory rats, and the findings received considerable global media attention. Shortly after the article was originally published, the journal received many letters to the editor expressing concerns about the validity of the findings, the proper use of animals and even allegations of fraud.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), in agreement with food safety regulators globally, rejected the conclusions of the study, finding “On the basis of the many scientific deficiencies identified in the study, FSANZ does not accept the conclusions made by the authors and has therefore found no justification to reconsider the safety of NK603 corn.”

Expert responses to the re-published paper are available from the Australian Science Media Centre, and they include:

  • Dr Ian Musgrave, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine Sciences, within the Discipline of Pharmacology at the University of Adelaide. Dr Musgrave’s response can be summarised as, “…the major flaws in this study still remain. The wrong controls were used, there is no dose response and there is no consistent response to any of the measured outcomes that would even hint at a real adverse effect.”
  • Professor Andrew Bartholomaeus, Adjunct Professor, Pharmacy School of Canberra University and the Therapeutic Research Unit of the School of Medicine, University of Queensland. In short, Professor Bartholomaeus states, “This paper is largely a re-publication of the original article published and subsequently retracted by Food & Chemical Toxicology due to concerns around the scientific quality of the study and its interpretation, with some amendments that qualitatively address some of the criticisms of the original… From a toxicological or food safety perspective the conclusions of FSANZ and international food regulatory agencies and peak scientific bodies suggest that the paper has insufficient scientific merit even to be considered controversial or provocative and it will likely be essentially irrelevant to the mainstream scientific community. None of the changes alter these fundamental criticisms.”
  • Tom Sanders, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics, King’s College London, said, “Republishing data that was faulty in the first place in study design and analysis does not provide redemption. Furthermore, it is now possible to publish almost anything in Open Access journals! Seralini did not follow conventional methods for assessing animal toxicity and made most of the measurements at the end of life.”

Further information:



In May, the Supreme Court delivered a sweeping rejection of any basis for an $85,000 damages claim by Kojonup farmer Steve Marsh against his neighbour Michael Baxter, after GM canola pods had blown on to his organic certified property.

Mr Marsh’s legal team from Slater and Gordon have since filed a notice of appeal in the Court of Appeal. The grounds of this appeal haven’t yet been made public, and the appeal is expected to be heard within the next 18 months.

According to media reports, the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) says the recent landmark GM canola case has brought about a critical rethink in the way the organisation defines organic certification. NASAA had decertified the Marshes’ canola because of the contamination.

Association general manager Ben Copeman said hard lessons had been learnt in the aftermath of the landmark trial, but stopped short of taking the blame for the Marshes’ losses.

“We’ve learnt that the contract we asked our operators to sign didn’t necessarily reflect what was expected in the Standard,” Mr Copeman said.

“So, our lawyers are analysing that and will comeback to us with a clear and legally acceptable definition of GM contamination and what would be determined as contamination. 

The ABC reports that the WA State Government recently made a submission to the Organic Industry Standards Certification Council seeking to lift the tolerance level of GM material in certified organic foods.

Further information:



According to media reports, the WA Government is set to scrap laws which give it the power to veto local farmers growing GM crops approved by Commonwealth authorities.

Agriculture Minister Ken Baston said the Cabinet had agreed to a scheduled review of the WA GM Crops Free Areas Act, and he indicated “strongly” that it would be repealed once the review concluded.

The WA Nationals also support moves to repeal the state’s laws on GM crops, voting to revoke the designation of the whole state of Western Australia as GM crop free area at their recent state conference.

In 2013, more than 400 WA farmers planted about 168,000 hectares of GM canola.

The Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) has stated as a group they believe the Act should be removed in its entirety.

The review of WA’s GM Crops Free Areas legislation has also been considered by the WAFarmers Grains Council, which showed conditional support for repealing of the act, provided growers could benefit from any advancements and there were enough markets to accept the technology.

Further information:


An online database that provides unique, comprehensive data on agricultural biotechnology traits and approvals worldwide has been re-launched globally.

The Biotradestatus website (www.biotradestatus.com) is a searchable database which provides both the approval and commercial status for plant biotechnology traits worldwide so users can easily determine which products are in the global marketplace. The site can be used to search for cultivation, food and feed use, and importation approval data by crop, trait developer, country, and individual event name.

“The plant science industry’s international federation, CropLife International, has shown great initiative in providing public access to this global resource,” said Matthew Cossey, chief executive officer of CropLife Australia.

“It is an excellent tool and provides valuable information on the exciting innovations that agricultural biotechnology is delivering.”

The data on this site can be directly accessed via the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Biosafety Clearing-house (BCH), significantly improving access to plant biotechnology commercial status information for those countries that are signatories to the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol.

Biotradestatus was developed by the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) in 2002. The online database will now be managed by CropLife International, of which CropLife Australia is a member.

Further information:



A series titled “GM in Australia” recently appeared in The Conversation. Topics covered, and the authors, were:

  • ‘GM techniques: from the field to the laboratory (and back again)’ by Professor Peter Langridge, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics.
  • ‘Setting the standards: who regulates Australian GM food?’ by Dr David Tribe, University of Melbourne.
  • ‘Safety first – assessing the health risks of GM foods’ by Ashley Ng, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.
  • ‘Because we can, does it mean we should? The ethics of GM foods’, by Christopher Mayes, University of Sydney.
  • ‘How private funding influences GM research’ by Sky Croeser, Curtin University.
  • ‘Making a meal of GM food labelling’ by Heather Bray and Rachel Ankeny, University of Adelaide.

The Conversation is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public.

Further information:



University of California scientist Alison Van Eenennaam reviewed the results of animal-feeding studies involving GM feeds. The paper was published in the Journal of Animal Science. According to Eenennaam, the 15-year history of GM feeds use has proven that there are no unique risks associated to GM feeds. Thus, whole food/feed animal feeding studies on GM crops should be done only for GM crops where the new trait results in a sensible food safety concern that remains unanswered following all other analyses.

Further information:



In an article titled The impact of possible climate changes on developing countries: The need for plants tolerant to abiotic stresses, experts outline how biotechnology can improve a plant’s tolerance to abiotic stresses brought about by climate change. GM crops are increasingly being adopted around the world, and biotechnology holds promise in addressing climate change problems in agriculture.

Further information:



Chinese researchers have announced their success in developing GM wheat resistant to powdery mildew. The researchers used gene-editing techniques to delete the wheat genes responsible for the production of proteins which stop the plant from defending itself against the mildew. No genes from other organisms were inserted into the wheat genome.

Gene deletion is particularly hard to do in wheat because the plant has a hexaploid genome, which means that it has three similar copies of most of its genes. That means multiple genes must be disabled or the trait will not be changed. Using gene-editing tools known as TALENs and CRISPR, the researchers were able to do that without changing anything else or adding genes from other organisms.

A paper describing the GM powdery mildew resistant wheat results appears in Nature Biotechnology.

Further information:



A new report looking at the animal biotechnology globally, titled Global Animal Biotechnology Report 2014-2023 – Technologies, Markets and Companies, is available for purchase from Research and Markets. The report describes and evaluates animal biotechnology and its application in veterinary medicine and pharmaceuticals as well as improvement in food production.

Topics covered in the report include: application of biotechnology in animals; a biotechnology perspective of animal diseases; molecular diagnostics in animals; biotechnology-based veterinary medicine; research in animal biotechnology; animal biotechnology markets, and companies involved in animal biotechnology.

Available for purchase at:



The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has started the process of developing frost-tolerant Australian wheat and barley varieties, initially, the focus will be on screening international seed bank collection for frost resistance potential.

GRDC Southern Panel member Neil Fettell says it could take up to ten years before growers get their hands on better varieties.

“Worldwide, there are hundreds of thousands of wheat lines and the problem is to find ones that might be better…So what we’re doing is focusing on doing a climate analysis in the world to decide where there would be varieties that might help us,” he said.

“Then we’re going to get seed of lines or land races from those places, bring them into Australia and test them.”

The GRDC is spending $3 million annually over the next five years towards genetic and management solutions to frost.

Further information:



ABCA Council member Science & Technology Australia presented a forum in partnership with the Crawford Fund asking the critical question: As the global population explodes, how do we feed ourselves and the world?

ABC 666’s Genevieve Jacobs was joined by eminent experts Hon John Kerin AM, Professor Catherine Bertini, and Dr Elizabeth Finkel, to address one of the great challenges of our time. With the global population set to hit 10 billion in 2050, that’s one thousand extra mouths to feed each and every day in Australia alone. Mix that with the need to reduce our environmental footprint, and use the same amount of arable land for food production and the challenge can seem insurmountable. Is Australia playing its part or do we have our head in the sand? Are we using technology to the fullest extent, or are GM fears getting in the way of solutions? Can Australia become the food bowl for Asia, and are there risks attached?

The broadcast quality video of the event can be watched here:



Broadcast on ABC’s Radio National ‘First Bite’ program in August, this segment looks at the biofortification of food using gene technology, and more particularly, the development of Golden Rice and its long and arduous path to market.

Further information:



Tasmania’s GM crop moratorium is set to be extended by a further five years following the tabling of a Bill in the House of Assembly.

The previous Tasmanian Government had intended to extend the moratorium indefinitely, but the new Liberal Government stated that a five-year moratorium “strikes an appropriate balance between the needs of today and the possibilities of tomorrow.”

Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the moratorium would be reviewed prior to its expiry date in 2019.

“Research commissioned by the previous government confirmed the fact that remaining GM-free comes at a cost to Tasmanian farmers,” said Tasmania Farmers’ and Graziers’ Association chief executive Jan Davis.

A previous report looking at Tasmania’s canola market found that “over the last 10 years Tasmania has lost $40 million due to its moratorium.”

Further information:



Australian growers are switching to [GM] Roundup Ready canola at the fastest rate yet purchasing a record 855 tonnes of seed this season, according to media reports.

Sales surged across the country demonstrating grower confidence in the value of Roundup Ready canola in all growing regions.

The surge in sales has been attributed to the availability of new high performing varieties, diminishing premiums for non-GM canola and growing market acceptance. In Western Australia 639 tonnes of seed have been sold (up 53 per cent), while in Victoria growers purchased 91 tonnes (up 72 per cent) and 125 tonnes were sold in New South Wales (up 59 per cent).

Monsanto Australia Managing Director, Daniel Kruithoff, said that Roundup Ready canola is now a mainstream agricultural tool for growers across the country.

“Growers are turning to Roundup Ready canola in greater numbers every year for the simple fact that it delivers them value. The rapid adoption also sends a very clear signal that there is solid demand for GM canola in domestic and international markets.

Further information:



Human trials are about to begin on a GM banana that has the potential to drastically reduce infant morality and malnutrition in Africa, reports the Independent.

The GMO banana, which was developed by Australian scientists and backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a vitamin A-enriched version of a common East African cooking banana. Vitamin A deficiency is estimated to kill up to 700,000 children annually and causes about 300,000 cases of blindness globally each year, so the enriched banana has the potential to significantly impact public health for the better. This is especially the case in Africa, where as many as 70 per cent of the population in some countries rely on cooked banana for the bulk of their nutrition.

Researchers are optimistic that human trials will be successful and that their GM banana will go into commercial production in Uganda by 2020.

“Good science can make a massive difference here by enriching staple crops such as Ugandan bananas with pro-vitamin A and providing poor and subsistence-farming populations with nutritionally rewarding food… We know our science will work,” said Professor James Dale, who is leading the nine-year banana project at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

Further information:



A consortium of scientists announced this month in Science that they’ve sequenced the coffee robusta coffee genome, the plant variety that accounts for about one-third of the world’s coffee consumption.

Work is continuing to sequence arabica coffee, which produces the world’s fancier varieties of coffee bean. Since arabica is a hybrid of robusta and another variety of coffee plant, it has a duplicated genome.

Using the newly available genetic information, researchers can now look to breed or genetically modify coffee crops more disease-resistant; more resilient to climate change; and, resistant to pests. A further possibility is shutting down caffeine development to produce decaf coffee without the need for caffeine extraction.

Further information:



Britain’s first trial of GM crops enriched with nutrients to improve health has been successfully harvested this month. The camelina (false flax) crop has been genetically modified to produce seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Next year, researchers plan to double the size of the field trial and sow the crop earlier with a higher seed rate to see if it can produce even more omega-3 oils. If the trials are successful, plant oils will be fed to farmed fish, and the oil content of the fish will be analysed. Plant oil extracted from the seeds could also be used as an omega-3 supplement in yoghurts or spreads.

The research is seeking to provide a healthy, alternative and sustainable terrestrial source of omega-3 oil, which is known to lower the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancers, and arthritis.

Further information:



The European Commission has proposed some amendments to the current EU rules.

Currently, GM crops can be grown in the EU, but only once they have been authorised at EU level, following a strict risk assessment carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). After authorisation, individual EU countries can only ban the GM product on their territory by using the so-called safeguard clause. They have to justify this decision, showing that the GMO may cause harm to people or the environment.

The EU wants to change the current system for authorising GM products because some member states have asked for more freedom and flexibility to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their territory.

The Council reached a political agreement in June, which will allow the Parliament and the Council to continue talks in order to reach agreement on a common text. Final adoption is expected in 2015.

Further information:



Gene editing is the latest biotechnology technique gaining attention in scientific circles. The creation of Genetically Edited Organisms (GEOs) is being touted as a more publicly acceptable form of biotechnology as it does not involve the addition of genetic material from another organism.

“The simple avoidance of introducing foreign genes makes genetically edited crops more ‘natural’ than transgenic crops obtained by inserting foreign genes…GEOs will surge as a ‘natural’ strategy to use biotechnology for a sustainable agricultural future,” said Chidananda Nagamangala Kanchiswamy of the Istituto Agrario San Michele in Italy.

Further information:



Four GM corn varieties have been approved for human consumption and animal feed use in Vietnam. Three varieties are insect resistant and one is herbicide tolerant. These are first GM products to be approved for both human consumption and animal feed in the country.

Further information:



New research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B., outlines the development of a GM fruit fly that could be an effective method of pest control.

Developed by UK-based company Oxitec, the male GM flies are only capable of producing male offspring as a female specific gene interrupts female development before they become adults. This means that after several generations, the flies die off as the males can no longer find mates.

The next step for the researchers would be open field trials which would need government approval.

Oxitec has already completed extensive field trials with GM mosquitoes in Brazil in order to prevent the spread of dengue fever.

Further information:



Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development and Director of the Agriculture for Impact, a program funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, at the Imperial College in London recently presented the keynote address at the Borlaug 100 Summit on Wheat for Food Security in Mexico.

Conway says the world’s food production needs to be increased by 70 to 100 per cent by 2050. He outlined three key approaches:

  1. Sustainable intensification – we have to increase food production but on the same amount of land with the same amount of water because we’ve got limited amounts of good quality land and water and it has to be done sustainably, that means we have to use fertilisers and pesticides more prudently. We’ve also got to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, we’ve got to reduce carbon dioxide, we’ve got to reduce methane, we’ve got to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and we need to increase natural capital.
  2. Reducing meat consumption – the rise in the global appetite for meat means a greater demand for grain. Many countries including China, India, Brazil and Mexico are changing their diets to ones similar to those of Europeans, Americans and Australians which have higher proportions of dairy products and meat including poultry, pork, beef and lamb. With seven kilos of grain required for every kilo of meat produced, Conway outlined the opportunity for meat substitutes.
  3. Genetic modification – Conway believes that GM crops are needed but only in the longer term and for specific pests and diseases. He says that Africa’s food security will largely depend on conventional methods for the next 10 to 20 years but with the amount of crop damage caused by pests and diseases GM technology will be needed.

Sir Gordon Conway is former president of The Rockefeller Foundation in the USA, former chief scientist of the Department for International Development in the UK, and author of ‘One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?’

Further information:



Last year, the Bangladesh Government approved the commercial release of four insect resistant GM brinjal (eggplant) varieties for use this year. The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) has released a report about the country’s experience with the new crop.

According to the report, brinjal is a very important vegetable in Bangladesh where it is grown by about 150,000 very small resource poor farmers on about 50,000 hectares all year round. The crop suffers regular and heavy losses from the fruit and shoot borer (FSB) which conventional insecticides cannot control effectively. During heavy infestation farmers attempt to control the pest with up to 80 insecticide applications per season, resulting in serious implications for producers, consumers and environment.

The seedlings of four GM brinjal varieties were distributed to 20 small brinjal farmers in January. In the next five years, the government of Bangladesh plans to bring 20,000 hectares or approx. 40 per cent of total 50,000 hectares across 20 districts under nine GM insect resistant brinjal varieties.

Previous experimental data indicate that GM brinjal can improve yield by at least 30 per cent and reduce the number of insecticide applications by a massive 70-90 per cent resulting in a net economic benefit of US$1,868 per hectare – an enormous benefit for some of the poorest farmers in the world.

Further information:


Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Date: 5-8 October 2014

Details: The themes for the conference are innovation for global food security, strategies for agriculture innovation, and, leadership for successful innovation. Speakers include: Julie Borlaug, granddaughter of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and Associate Director of External Relations, Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M; Dr John Buchanan, CEO, Center for Aquaculture Technologies; Lawrence Kent, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Professor Emeritus Ingo Potrykus, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Contact: www.abic.ca/abic2014/



Location: Geelong, Victoria

Date: 9-10 October 2014

Details: This workshop will take place on a rising tide of concerns about food safety and the security of food supply and the role that biotechnology should play to improve the efficiency and sustainability of food production. It offers an ideal opportunity to get together in one room key individuals that can provide leadership and policy advice on those issues. The overall aim is to identify the roadblocks for uptake of GM-animal technology as a solution to safe and sustainable food production over the next century. Outcomes will include:

  • Development of a roadmap with respect to current research gaps and opportunities.
  • Establishment of a working group made up of individuals across countries participating in the OECD Co-operative Research Programme, that are experts in the field of stem cells and genome editing technologies and with an interest in animal agriculture. This working group will proved ongoing council to OECD member countries as these technologies reach the market and consumer.
  • Generation of a “white paper” outlining short and long term opportunities for stem cells and genome editing in food animal systems.
  • Development of an integrated plan with policy makers, grant funding agencies and industry stakeholders.

This conference is part of the Biosecurity Flagship which is CSIRO’s contribution to national biosecurity research in collaboration with other research agencies, State and Federal Governments and international partners.

Contact: www.csiro.au/Organisation-Structure/Flagships/Biosecurity-Flagship/GMAnimal_Uptake_Conference.aspx



Location: Melbourne

Date: 16-17 October 2014

Details: Precision genome engineering is an emerging and rapidly growing field that seeks to enable efficient and directed modification of animal and plant genomes. Recent developments in this field have enabled significant advances in the capability of researchers to modify gene sequences of interest in a wide variety of cell types and model organisms. This conference will bring together leading scientists and industry that are involved in developing tools for precision genome engineering and using those tools in a wide range of organisms including animals, plants and insects. This symposium will introduce these newly developed methodologies (with focus on CRISPR, TAL, PNA and ZFNs), and discuss their advantages and disadvantages over traditionally used technologies.

Contact: http://wp.csiro.au/pge2014/



Location: Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre

Date: Thursday 30 – Friday 31 October 2014

Details: This year’s two-day Agriculture & Food Biotechnology Symposium highlights how Australian Food and Agricultural companies can capitalise on biotechnology innovations by exploring:

  • Macroeconomics of influencing Australia’s agri-bio industry
  • Technological advances that will transform livestock, horticulture and cropping industries
  • How to navigate regulatory and legal barriers
  • Emerging and enabling biotechnologies

Contact: http://ausbiotechnc.org/program14/AFBS

Disclaimer: The Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia Limited (ABCA) gives no warranty and makes no representation that the information contained in these sections is suitable for any purpose or is free from error. ABCA accepts no responsibility for any person acting or relying upon the information contained in these sections, and disclaims all liability.