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Crop Biotech Update

Coalition of NGOs Outline Principles for Responsible Governance of Gene Editing

August 25, 2021
Photo Source: Keystone Policy Center

A coalition of conservation and consumer non-governmental organizations presented six principles for responsible governance in gene editing in agriculture and the environment in an article published in Nature Biotechnology.

According to the authors, gene editing, as well as other biotechnologies, have the potential to address urgent concerns on food security, environment, human health. However, conflicts and risks also arise. The coalition, which includes the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, Environmental Defense Fund, Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund U.S., provided the principles as a high-level framework for responsible innovation and governance of gene-editing technologies.

The six principles presented were:

  • Effective, science-based government regulation; 
  • Voluntary best practices that complement regulatory oversight; 
  • Risk avoidance and delivery of tangible societal benefits; 
  • Robust, inclusive societal engagement; 
  • Inclusive access to technology & resources; and 
  • Transparency on gene editing products in the environment.

"Our principles could apply to products produced with almost any technology...We have focused on genetic editing because: this methodology has potential for safe and beneficial applications; new products are being developed rapidly; regulation and introduction of new products into commerce is controversial; and the lack of appropriate governance could lead to unintended environmental consequences or severely limit its use," the authors wrote.

Read the principles in Nature Biotechnology or the media release in Keystone Policy Center.

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