An Interview with Alison Van Eenennaam, Animal Biotechnology & Genomics Extension Specialist at the University of California-Davis:
From your perspective, should CRISPR & NBT edited products be regulated?
Regulation should be risk-based, i.e. based on any novel hazards that might exist in the product and exposure, and proportional, i.e. products with little risk should have little regulation, and those with high risk should be highly regulated.
If there are no novel hazards in the product then there is no rationale for regulation, and implementing an expensive process-triggered regulatory framework, as was done with genetic engineering, will essentially preclude the commercialization of products developed by the public sector and small companies.
What are the best practices to earn consumer trust in genome editing and its products?
Framing is important. Genetic improvement is a huge driver of sustainability. Precluding breeder access to improved breeding methods to introduce useful genetic variation like disease resistance into selection programs has substantial environmental opportunity costs.
Emphasizing the problems that can be addressed using gene editing, rather than the technical details of the method, is important along with a discussion on alternative methods for addressing the problem, e.g. developing disease resistant plants and animals using genetics reduces the need to use chemicals such as antibiotics or crop protection products to control disease.
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