Biotech Updates

Animal Biotech Vital to Empowering Farmers and Achieving Environmental Goals

March 1, 2023

ISAAA Inc., in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology (HLPDAB) Forum, conducted a virtual workshop titled Building Knowledge and Regulatory Capacity in Animal (Livestock and Aquaculture) Biotech (GE and GEd) in Response to Climate Change from February 27 to 28, 2023 via Zoom. The workshop was exclusive to representatives and observers from 21 APEC member-economies.

The key objective of the activity was to raise APEC member economies' knowledge and understanding of biotechnology applications, primarily genetic engineering and genome editing, for livestock and aquaculture. In the welcome remarks by Dr. Rhodora Romero-Aldemita, Executive Director of ISAAA Inc., it was further explained that the acceptance and adoption of products that of agricultural biotechnology are based on the broad understanding of the applications and benefits for regulators to draft effective policy approaches that are consistent with international standards. The workshop was aligned with the scope and objectives of the terms of reference for the APEC HLPDAB 2022-2025 to build biotech capacities, to reap the potential benefits of the technology, contribute to address climate change and food security and improve the well-being of the APEC economies.

Dr. Daniel Kovich, Science Advisor of the New Technologies & Production Methods Division of the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, gave the welcome remarks on behalf of Dr. Anastacia Bodnar, Biotechnology Coordinator and Agricultural Biotechnology Advisor of USDA. Dr. Kovich highlighted that biotechnology can help meet environmental goals including improving biodiversity, and adapting to and mitigating the climate crisis. Empowering farmers is a meaningful way to address these intersectional challenges. He encouraged scientists, developers, and regulators of the APEC economies to recognize the need to use every biotechnology application in the toolbox and to continue to craft new ones to improve the status of agriculture throughout the region.

The participants were briefed about the global status of animal biotechnology for climate change resiliency, food, and agriculture through a discussion on the science, products in the pipeline, and benefits including the potential for transgenics and genome editing to address climate change and other goals in animal agriculture. This was followed by presentations on the opportunities for animal biotechnology for climate change resiliency in ruminants, poultry, swine, and fishery and aquaculture.

Case studies of animal biotechnology products were also discussed, including the SLICK Cattle of Accelligen, the AquAdvantage Salmon of AquaBounty, and the genome-edited sea bream and puffer fish of Kindai University in Japan. Regulators from Japan, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia went through the details of their respective countries' biosafety frameworks and regulatory considerations when evaluating animal biotech products.

The activity was conducted in preparation for the the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology in August 2023 which will be held in Seattle, Washington. For questions about the workshop, contact ISAAA Inc. at

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