Should GMO regulation be based on individual gene changes?

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Getting regulation of agricultural biotechnologies right is no simple task. . . .[I]n the United States the diversified ‘Coordinated Framework’ has produced a strange patchwork of rules, exceptions and lengthy delays.

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. . . . We argue here that revisions are badly needed to better align the GMO regulatory system with the substantial body of science and experience that has accumulated since the 1986 Coordinated Framework was established, almost three decades ago.

A key issue is the very high cost imposed on all types of GMOs by our national and international regulatory systems. . . .

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One of the main reasons for the high costs of GMO regulations is the need to obtain approvals [for] individual gene-insertion events. . . . The US EPA, for example, treats each event as a unique biological entity, called a Plant-Incorporated Protectant (PIP), triggering a review . . . This entails a new regulatory review, even if the genetic construct is known to produce an identical biochemical as a previously approved PIP.

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. . . . A highly precautionary approach as that embodied in the current Coordinated Framework may have been a reasonable approach to reduce risk and assuage public fears when GMO methods were first entering the marketplace, but it seems that intensive regulation that goes far beyond the requirements of science has often had the opposite effect on public confidence. Although event-specific regulation is only one part of the high cost of regulatory compliance, its removal . . . should help to democratize genetic engineering technology so it can be used to deliver a much greater diversity of innovations to the marketplace.

Subscribers can read the full article here: Ending event-based regulation of GMO crops

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