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Why do we regulate GMOs like chemicals, not living things?

| | July 1, 2016

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

. . . . In 1983, the National Research Council published a report nicknamed the Red Book, which first codified risk assessment for federal agencies. . .

. . . .

These reports were written. . . with chemicals in mind, but they eventually served as a framework for assessing risks in living things, too, from GMOs to invasive species. . . . “. . . [L]iving organisms have two features that chemicals don’t. One is they evolve in unpredictable ways, and second is they usually have autonomous means of dispersing,” [says Daniel Simberloff, an ecologist.]

In other words, a chemical will behave in a fairly predictable way, breaking down into the environment. Organisms have the opportunity to do the opposite: they are able to reproduce.

Related article:  Genetic modification of trees faces forest of protests

. . . .

A codified biological risk assessment is certainly possible. . .

“It’s not that we can’t do biological assessments — we’ve been doing them for a long time. It’s when we piece together such an ad hoc collection of assessments on microbes, plants, animals,” says Jaydee Hanson, a senior policy analyst at the advocacy group Center for Food Safety. . . .

. . . .

So what’s the best way to regulate biological innovations? And how should the framework change?

Read full, original post: The Tricky Business of Regulating Biology

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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