The¬†National Academies¬†has published a wide-ranging assessment¬†of¬†genetically engineered crops.¬†The report looks at the impacts GE crops have had since the 1980s. Its findings include:
- Generally positive economic outcomes for farmers, but no indication GE crops changed the rate of increase in yields;
- Decreased crop losses, insecticide use and greater insect biodiversity for insect-resistant Bt¬†crops, but also¬†instances of insects evolving resistance;
- No decrease in plant biodiversity for herbicide tolerant crops, but a major problem with herbicide-resistant weeds due to heavy glyphosate use;
- No evidence that foods from GE crops are¬†less safe to eat than conventional food.
Looking to the future of GE crops, the report notes that new genetic technologies are blurring the line between conventional and GE crops, and that the U.S. regulatory system needs to assess¬†crop varieties based on their individual characteristics, not the way they are¬†produced.
Dr. David Stern, Professor and President of the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research¬†(webpage):
Expertise:¬†Plant molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics.
“The NAS report is timely and wide-ranging, yet provides few definitive conclusions to satisfy a contentious scientific and social context. The report acknowledges and attempts to address the most prominent questions surrounding GE crops ‚Äď their advantages, risks, and the impact of genome engineering ‚Äď through extensive examination of the scientific literature, as well as testimony from those representing a range of perspectives.
“The report will provide fodder for friends and foes of GE, because each conclusion is accompanied by caveats. For example, insect resistance traits may lead to greater insect biodiversity than where synthetic pesticides are used, but poor management strategies with the same traits can lead to unwanted proliferation of resistant insects. Similarly, while no solid evidence of food safety concerns was found, the report points to the difficulty of assessing risk of novel allergens or long-term effects ‚Äď regardless of how a new crop is created.
“Several take-home messages emerge. First, we are early in the GE era, where only two traits (Bt and herbicide tolerance) are in wide enough use to support robust studies on safety and environmental effects ‚Äď studies which may not be relevant to other GE crops. Second, the issues surrounding GE crops are not purely technical: they ‘include a broad array of social, cultural, economic and political factors.’ The report rightly advocates basing regulatory frameworks in consideration of all these factors. Third, the properties of a new crop are more important than the route taken to its creation. Advances in analytical science have transformed our ability to assess deeply and rapidly the physiology, genetics and biochemistry of new varieties, yet how to interpret such data for regulatory purposes remains a major challenge. Finally, the point clearly emerges that GE is neither a great evil, nor a panacea. To achieve desired outcomes of food security and sustainability across populations, cultures, and farming modalities, will require judicious deployments of many different traits and techniques.”
Dr. Wayne Parrott, Professor, Department of Crop & Soil Sciences, University of Georgia (webpage):
Expertise: Plant breeding and genomics, gene transfer systems for value-added traits in soybean, alfalfa and peanut.
“The inescapable conclusion, after reading the report, is the GE crops are pretty much just crops.¬† They are not the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.
“The report presents a sober assessment of GE crops.¬† As such, the report must be commended on its broad efforts, and its identification of key knowledge gaps and recommendations for the future.¬† Overall, the topics are treated very objectively.¬†Importantly, the report includes the first-ever data-based assessment on possible links between GE crop consumption and disease incidence, and finds no evidence of harmful effects.¬† It would be hard to argue against most of their findings and recommendations.
“Some disappointment comes from the fact that, by sticking to its mandate to focus on GE crops, the report misses out on the perspective and context that comes from looking at crops as a whole.¬† For example, the committee finds some evidence that some weeds have become more abundant, but does not compare these changes in weed frequency with those that occurred as different conventional herbicides were rolled out prior to the advent of GE crops.
“In addition, the report does not really question the validity, effectiveness, or usefulness of most of the current regulations and safety testing paradigms.¬† Instead the report limits itself to recommending a few tweaks in safety assessments.¬† To its credit, though, the report does recognize the importance of having a tiered risk ‚Äďassessment system for regulatory purposes.
“Finally, at least one recommendation makes little sense, and should be challenged: Why should environmental monitoring be required for a GE crop, when none is required if the same trait was deployed conventionally?¬† Either both should merit monitoring, or neither should, in order to be consistent with the report‚Äôs recognition that risk comes from the final product, and not the way in which it was developed.”
Dr. Norman Ellstrand, Professor of Genetics, University of California, Riverside (webpage):
Expertise: The significance of gene flow as an¬†evolutionary force; applied plant population genetics.
“The 2016 GE Crop NRC report is a well-researched instant classic and bound to influence policy for years. It appears that most of the star-studded team of scholars have put a pound of flesh into a thoughtful and carefully crafted¬†tour de force.¬†The conclusions are state of the art, focusing on the products, rather than the process, of the spectrum of current techniques, some of which may or may not fall into the definition of ‘genetic engineering’.¬† More than two decades of scrutiny reveals that genetic engineering, like any other crop improvement methodology, is a tool that has the¬† potential to create useful, useless, or problematic products.¬† As humanity faces a host of looming problems, the report notes ‘genetic engineering alone cannot address the wide variety of complex challenges that face farmers’. It is implicit that we need to use the entire toolkit skillfully and mindfully.”
Dr. David Ervin,¬†Professor Emeritus of Environmental Management and Economics, Portland State University¬†(webpage):
Expertise: Dr. Ervin¬†chaired the 2010 NRC report on the sustainability impacts of GE crops for U.S. farms , and his research interests include ecosystem services management and the motivations for businesses to advance sustainability.
“This new NRC study is a massive effort to survey the latest science on genetically engineered crops. The findings will help the public sort through a jumble of contentious allegations, both pro and con, to understand the salient issues on GE crops going forward. They add support to the 2010 NRC report findings on the environmental, economic and social impacts of GE crops on U.S. farm sustainability, and extend insights to the international arena and future GE crops. The affirmation of evolved resistance to current GE crop characteristics, in particular herbicide tolerance, should elevate this escalating agricultural problem.
“A major contribution is the report‚Äôs admonition that current regulation of GE crops has not kept pace with science. The report recommends a shift from focusing on the genetic engineering process of creating the new crop to the product‚Äôs characteristics, such as enhanced nutritional content. They endorse a tiered approach to risk assessment based on the potential impacts of novel crop characteristics for human health and environmental safety, whether for crops developed with genetically engineering or by conventional breeding. The move to product characteristics would avert potential problems of not reviewing new crops made with new genome editing and synthetic biology techniques that may not trigger regulatory review under current procedures, but nonetheless may surface unintended risks.
“Another strength of the report is the integration of social sciences with the hard sciences for policy-relevant findings. On no topic is this more evident than the current controversy about labeling food products with GE content. While its review of the evidence made clear that mandatory labeling is not justified based on human health risks, it acknowledges that this choice involves the consideration of values beyond technical assessments. Those personal values are likely driving the unmistakable trend in the policy arena toward federal mandatory labeling.”
Dr. Dominic Reisig,¬†Associate Professor & Extension Specialist of Entomology, North Carolina State University (website):
Expertise:¬†Ecology of crop pests and role of Bt in pest management
Comments relevant to¬†Chapter 4: Agronomic and Environmental Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops
“This report confirms farmer and university-extension experience with crops that are genetically engineered to kill insect pests (Bt¬†crops), as well as other types of genetically engineered crops.¬† With¬†Bt¬†crops, yields increase (when insect pests are present), synthetic insecticide use decreases, beneficial insect abundance increases and, in some cases, pest populations are reduced across the landscape.¬† The report also notes that, coupled with a reduction in synthetic insecticide use, non-target pests can sometimes increase.¬† However, in all cases, the use of¬†Bt¬†crops reduces the overall amount of synthetic insecticides applied.
“The report also cautions that sustainable use of¬†Bt¬†crops necessitates an integrated approach, with a resistance management strategy that is specific to each environment and each particular¬†Bt¬†trait or set of traits.¬† Traits developed in the US, for example, may not be appropriate elsewhere.¬† Furthermore, in locations where resistance-management strategies have not been followed, some pests have developed damaging levels of resistance.¬† There are no cases of resistance where appropriate management tactics (high¬†Bt¬†dose coupled with a refuge to produce¬†Bt-susceptible pests) are used together.
“Finally, there is little evidence that genetically engineered crops have caused harm to the environment or cropping system.¬† From this perspective, current genetically engineered crops are safe to use.¬† However, the potential benefits could be increased, especially by focusing on the prevention of resistance.¬† The report highlights the fact that the product, rather than the process, should be the target of regulation that allows the continued and beneficial use of these crops.”
Dr. Nicholas Jordan, Professor,¬†Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, University of Minnesota (webpage):
Expertise: Use of biological diversity to improve on-farm productivity and resource efficiency, while reducing harmful environmental effects of agroecosystems.
Comments relevant to¬†Chapter 4:¬†Agronomic and Environmental Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops; and Chapter 6: Social and Economic Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops
“The report provides a careful and comprehensive review of effects of current GE crops that are commonly grown by farmers. On the basis of this valuable review, the report identifies some problems that have resulted from these crops, such as extensive herbicide resistance in weeds, for example, but suggests there have been benefits for many farmers as well.
“Importantly, the report points out that experience with GE crops is based on only a few kinds of crops and crop characteristics, and suggests that future crops should be carefully evaluated in terms of social, environmental and economic impacts, including the distribution of risks and benefits. For example, it is important to question whether a GE crop will benefit rich and poor farmers equally. The report also emphasizes that GE crops are only one option for developing an agriculture that can meet human needs for food, water and energy over the long run. It emphasizes that other kinds of innovation are also needed to make sure benefits of GE crops are achieved, such as training and subsidy support for farmers, and non-chemical approaches to controlling pests.
“The report hints at a coming future in which many new plant products are being produced by a range of new technologies, including genome editing techniques, like CRISPR/Cas9. The report argues that these technologies will make current concepts of GE and non-GE obsolete, and point to the need for new approaches to regulating these crops that focus on evaluating the impact of the crops themselves, regardless of what technology was used to develop them. Such new approaches may be needed soon, as the low cost of new technologies may ‘open the floodgates’ of new plant products that entrepreneurs wish to introduce into agriculture and commerce.”
Dr. Anthony Shelton, International Professor, Department of Entomology, Cornell University (webpage):
Expertise:¬†Insect ecology and pest management of insects affecting vegetables.
Comments relevant to¬†Chapter 4: Agronomic and Environmental Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops
“The NAS panel took a broad approach to examining the impact of genetically engineered (GE) crops. As an entomologist, I found the report confirms the scientific findings that genetically engineered crops provide environmental and economic benefits for insect pest management. The report is unambiguous in its conclusion that ‘the use of¬†Bt¬†crops is clearly associated with a decrease in the number of insecticide applications.’
“The only GE insect-resistant crops grown today are corn and cotton that express proteins from the common soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The safety of¬†Bt¬†to humans and the environment is well documented but it its use was largely limited to organic agriculture, until its genes were engineered into crop plants. Now¬†Bt¬†has become a major method of pest management. Besides¬†Bt¬†crops resulting in decreased use of insecticides, the report states that ‘planting of¬†Bt¬†crops has tended to result in higher insect biodiversity on farms than planting similar varieties without the¬†Bt¬†trait that were treated with synthetic insecticides.’
“I was glad to see the report also include information on fruit and vegetable crops, which together receive more insecticide use than cotton, maize and rice combined. The only commercial GE fruit and vegetable crops are virus resistance papaya, summer squash and¬†Bt¬†eggplant in Bangladesh. Use of virus-resistant papaya saved the Hawaiian papaya industry from collapse and virus-resistant squash is common in the marketplace in the US. In a recent trip to Bangladesh I met a resource-poor farmer who had only sprayed twice rather than the 100+ times he usually sprayed a cocktail of insecticides before¬†Bt¬†eggplant became available to him. The¬†Bt¬†eggplant was free from insect injury, his crop was well accepted in the market place and he and his family were pleased to have this technology.”
Dr. Micheal Owen, University Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Agronomy and Extension Weed Specialist, Iowa State University (webpage):
Expertise:¬†Weed management strategies, herbicide resistance.
Comments relevant to¬†Chapter 4: Agronomic and Environmental Effects of Genetically Engineered Crop
“It is clear to me that the committee did a thorough and objective review of available information and were open to all groups (ag-related, public sector, NGOs, etc.), providing excellent opportunities for perspectives and opinions. They also did a good job looking at all aspects of GE crops and reviewed not only the agronomic perspectives but also the social, economic, ecological and regulatory aspects of GE crops.
“The major point made is a general theme that the benefits of GE crops are greater than the risks. GE crops (or better said, GE traits) cannot be lumped together, as each trait, whether for herbicide resistance or insect resistance, ‘behaves’ differently on the landscape. The committee reinforced many perspectives that are well-recognized by scientists but generally not understood or accepted by growers. For example, the use of simple pesticide-based pest management strategies will ultimately select for the evolution of resistant pests. Diversity of pest management beyond traits like¬†Bt¬†or herbicide resistance, is critically important to sustainable management of pests.
“Another point that was important was the ‘loose’ correlation between GE traits and increased yields. Generally, the increases in yields are attributable to better control of the targeted pest. It was also interesting that the authors of the report indicated that there was no clear correlation between increased conservation tillage and GE crops.¬†They also¬†note rightly¬†that¬†researchers and others should not assess ‘success’ with herbicide use by measuring/reporting the amount used (a¬†kg/ha metric). There are factors other than the total amount of herbicide/pesticide on the ground with regard to how environmentally supportive a technology actually is.
“One point that is important was the assessment of pesticide use; reports should not focus on the kilogram per hectare as this metric correlates poorly with the risks or benefits of GE crops.
“The implications of GE crops on species diversity across the landscape was interesting. The authors supported the fact that insect diversity on GE crops was greater than where chemical insecticides were used. Also there was no clear statement that herbicide resistant crops and the use of the correlated herbicide caused any consistent impact on plant diversity.”
Dr. Andrew Kniss, Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Wyoming (webpage):
Expertise: Sustainable weed management programs in agronomic crops, including the effect of long-term glyphosate use in glyphosate-resistant cropping systems.
Comments relevant to¬†Chapter 4: Agronomic and Environmental Effects of Genetically Engineered Crop
“This report is a truly comprehensive document. There are few, if any, concerns regarding genetically engineered crops that have not been directly addressed. Pesticide use, Monarch butterflies, super-weeds, environment, human health, regulatory, social and economic impacts; it’s all there. This report aptly summarizes the current state of the science on all fronts. This report is certainly of quality we expect from the National Academies. The committee has done a remarkable job and should be commended.
“Of major note, the report authors concluded that they found ‘little evidence to connect GE crops and their associated technologies with adverse agronomic or environmental problems’¬†and that ‘Overall, the committee found no evidence of cause-and-effect relationships between GE crops and environmental problems.’¬†However, the report acknowledges that in some cases, this is because ‘the complex nature of assessing long-term environmental changes often made it difficult to reach definitive conclusions.’¬†In several places throughout the document, the committee encourages increased public funding to evaluate public concerns with GE technology. It is difficult to argue that would be a bad thing.
“Of particular interest to me, the report notes there are several analyses in the literature that quantify the amount of pesticide applied in response to GE crops. Importantly, the report expresses concerns that simple quantifications of the amounts of pesticides applied are of marginal value, since pesticides vary widely in use rates, toxicity, persistence, and environmental impact. In the committee’s words: ‘Assessing the relative effects of diverse herbicides can be challenging, but it is clear that simply determining if the total kilograms/hectare of herbicide used per year has gone up or down is not useful for assessing human or environmental risks.’
“In fact, the committee made an explicit recommendation that ‘Researchers should be discouraged from publishing data that simply compares total kilograms of herbicide used per hectare per year because such data can mislead readers.’¬†I share the committee’s concerns with regard to simple ‘pounds on the ground’ analyses of pesticide use, and hope that my fellow researchers (as well as NGOs and activists) will heed this recommendation.
“In summary, this report is remarkably thorough, and provides a balanced, nuanced view on the state of the science regarding most of the concerns related to cultivation of GE crops.”
Dr. Ruth MacDonald,¬† Professor and Chair of the¬†Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University (webpage):
Expertise: Factors in foods that reduce in the incidence or progression of cancer; consumer knowledge of food and nutrition relative to technology.
Comments relevant to¬†Chapter 5: Health Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops
“The NAS report on GE crops summarized a substantial amount of information relative to the potential effects of GE foods on human health. The committee reviewed research and compared demographic data related to the potential for GE foods to affect a wide range of human health issues. They concluded that there is no evidence that GE foods have caused any negative effects on health.¬†Based on comparisons in disease incidence in the US and Europe, for example, rates of cancer, obesity and celiac disease were similar, suggesting that consumption of GE foods has not influenced these conditions. Similarly, they found no evidence for higher rates of allergies or risk of changes in intestinal microorganisms associated with GE foods.
“The committee recommended that public research funding be provided to allow more extensive studies of new GE products and technologies to ensure that human safety continues to be protected.¬†I would certainly hope the report¬†will reduce public concern about the safety of GE foods. This is yet another document that adds to the long list of those that have reached the same conclusion that there is no evidence that GE foods are a risk to human health.”
Dr. Carl Winter, Cooperative Extension Food Toxicologist, University of California, Davis (webpage):
Expertise:¬†Detection of pesticides and naturally-occurring toxins in foods, how to assess their risks and identify how to use the science¬†in the regulatory decision-making process.
Comments relevant to¬†Chapter 5: Health Effect of Genetically Engineered Crops
“The NAS report comprehensively examines the potential impacts of genetically engineered crops on human health and concludes that eating genetically engineered crops does not pose health risks any greater than those posed from eating non-genetically engineered crops.¬† What is particularly helpful is the explanations of the nuances involved in toxicological testing and safety evaluation and the need to develop a solid ‚Äėstrength of evidence‚Äô approach that considers all available information rather than reliance on specific studies that could serve as outliers.
“The report also urges regulatory agencies and the public to be skeptical of the findings from single equivocal laboratory studies that cannot be replicated using accepted research methods.¬† I was pleased to see the recommendation that follow-up studies be conducted after equivocal studies have been presented.¬† If such research can be done in the public sector, as is recommended, its impact on the regulatory process would be greater.
“When considering the weight of evidence from toxicological studies in rodents, livestock consumption of large amounts of genetically modified foods, and human epidemiological studies, consumers should not fear genetically modified foods and should follow dietary guidelines that include consumption of large amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”
Dr. Richard Goodman, Research Professor in the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, University of Nebraska (webpage):
Expertise: Refining methods and evaluation criteria for assessing the potential allergenicity of proteins in genetically engineered crops.
Comments relevant to¬†Chapter 5: Health Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops
“Overall the National Academy of Sciences report appears to be an unbiased examination of most potential and hypothetical risks that have been suggested over the past 30 years of approving and growing crops from genetically engineered plants.¬† The panel was able to evaluate in adequate depth, the issues of food safety that were outlined in the report and concluded that based on the evidence, currently approved GM crops do not pose unacceptable risks of toxicity, allergenicity or inadequate or over-nutrition.¬†
‚ÄúThe NAS panel critically reviewed the design and outcomes of various animal models designed to estimate potential toxicity and allergenicity and concluded there are clear limitations for using animals to predict responses in humans that have not proven predictive or relevant for human safety testing.¬†
‚ÄúThe panel concluded that correlations of increased incidence of cancers and other chronic disease with increased consumption of GM-food in US diets does not demonstrate causality as the incidence of those diseases are increasing in populations where GM-food consumption is low.
“The report may over-estimate the utility of ‚Äďomics approaches, since measuring more parameters with better precision will certainly identify more differences, but most of those differences are common in currently used non-GM organisms. Differentiating meaningful from non-meaningful measurements will be unlikely to improve safety assessment, but will certainly increase costs and time to get to market with new developments.
“The NAS report considered potential differences in evaluating potential risks between ‚Äėtraditional‚Äô methods of genetic engineering (e.g. using Agrobacterium tumefaciens) and both RNAi and gene editing techniques.¬† In most cases these new techniques will lead to a reduction in plant proteins or metabolites and thus could be considered innocuous from a human health perspective.¬† However, in some cases, some specific -omics measurements might prove beneficial for evaluating the changes to the plant and their impacts on nutrition, or rarely on adverse health impacts.”
Dr.¬†Adam Bogdanove, Professor, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, Cornell University (webpage):
Expertise: Gene-editing in plants; mechanisms of bacterial plant pathogenesis and plant defense;¬†disease control.
Comments relevant to Chapter 7: Future Genetic-Engineering Technologies; and Chapter 8: Future Genetically Engineered Crops
“The committee did an exceptional job tackling the multidimensional issues that relate to crop genetic engineering, including next generation approaches for crop improvement such as genome editing. Particularly important is their recognition that rapidly evolving technologies, such as genome editing, can produce outcomes indistinct from, or even better than those produced by conventional breeding with regard to limiting unintended genetic changes that might come along with the intended change. This leads the committee to recommend a regulatory framework focused on the traits of a new crop variety, rather than on the methods used to incorporate those traits. Such a framework makes sense. It will better protect food safety and the environment while stimulating innovation.
“Another highlight of the report for me was its finding that there is no public health incentive for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods, but that ‘socioeconomic issues that go beyond product safety are technology-governance issues that should be addressed ‚Ä¶ in a way that considers competing interests of various stakeholders and inherent tradeoffs.’ This reflects sensitivity of the committee to the diversity of factors that influence whether the promise of an advanced crop improvement method is realized.”
Dr. Chris Dardick,¬†Molecular Biologist, Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory,¬†USDA Agricultural Research Service¬†(webpage):
Expertise:¬†Molecular interactions between plants and disease causing microbes; plant development; genomics; genetic engineering.
Comments relevant to Chapter 7: Future Genetic-Engineering Technologies
“The NRC‚Äôs recommendation of using ‚Äďomics scale analyses as a screen for risk assessment sounds reasonable. However, having performed such studies comparing GE and non-GE plums, we found that this information was of limited practical use for identifying ‘‚Ä¶unintended characteristics with potential hazards’ due to the overwhelming influences of environment, tissue type, and genetic background.
“We found that the effects of environment, tissue type, or genetic background were substantial. In general, the problem with -omics datasets is that plant molecular pathways (whether gene expression, protein, or metabolites) are dynamic and constantly changing. Thus, setting standards for what kinds of changes constitutes risk could be highly problematic.”
Dr.¬†Alan McHughen,¬†CE Biotechnology Specialist and Geneticist, University of California, Riverside (webpage):
Expertise: ¬†Crop improvement and environmental sustainability; regulations governing the safety of genetically engineered crops and foods.
Comments¬†relevant to¬†Chapter 9: Regulation of Current and Future Genetically Engineered Crops
“The new report reiterates the findings of various National Academy reports since the Academy started studying GE crops and foods in the 1980s.¬† However, unlike the initial NAS report (1986), the current panel was able to support their findings and recommendations based on over a quarter century of real data, evidence and actual experience, both in the field and in the food supply.
“The most noteworthy recommendation is strong, if unsurprising:¬†‘The committee recommends that new varieties‚ÄĒwhether genetically engineered or conventionally bred‚ÄĒbe subjected to safety testing¬†IF¬†they have novel intended or unintended characteristics with potential hazards’ (emphasis added).¬†This recommendation has been discussed at length in the scientific and regulatory communities for many years.
“Unfortunately, we can expect charges of industry bias in the Academy, even though this panel specifically sought input from well known anti-GE activists. The academy came under criticism (by academics including me) for engaging such non-experts with little or no scientific expertise, but that criticism now seems misplaced. The GE critics spoke, the panel evaluated their words, and deliberatively rejected the validity of the input. This discrediting of the most vocal and high profile opposition to GE agriculture was a valuable service to both academics and, more importantly, to the public.
“More relevant to the directed task, the report provides US regulatory agencies with the scientific ammunition to amend their regulations, bringing them into line with what NAS and other scientific societies worldwide have been recommending for over a quarter century. For years, US regulators have admitted that the structure needs adjustments, to get away from the process-based regulatory capture trigger and the ‚Äėplant pest‚Äô designation of USDA. But they needed a solid and explicit recommendation from the scientific community to provide the foundation to justify amendments, which would surely be challenged by anti-GE activists. With this report and the recommendations therein, US regulators and policymakers have that scientific endorsement and technical justification to make real improvements.
“With this new report, I can look forward to seeing a true science-based regulatory system in which new crop varieties, regardless of breeding methods used, are captured for safety assessment based solely on the presence of a trait novel to the crop and for which potential for harm is documented.”
Declared interests¬†(see GENeS register of interests policy):
Dr. David Stern: “BTI creates GE plants for research purposes and when appropriate attempts to transfer those traits to the private sector. BTI (although not my laboratory) has received research funding from companies that use GE technology.”
Dr. Wayne¬†Parrott:¬†“Does public-sector-funded research with genetically modified crops, and has done public outreach with the cost of travel covered by the ILSI International Food Biotechnology Committee and CropLife International.¬†I accept seminar invitations as long as the inviter covers travel costs.”
Dr. Dominic Reisig:¬†“I receive funding from industry, federal and state, and commodity sources¬†which¬†are all my stakeholders in extension.”
Dr. Micheal Owen:¬†“I receive funds from many of the pesticide companies, USDA and grower associations. I was also a co-author on the 2010 National Research Council report about the impact of GE on growers (cited many times in the current report).”
Dr. Andrew Kniss: “Funding has been provided to the University of Wyoming from the following organizations in support of Dr. Kniss’s research and education program, either through unrestricted gifts, research contracts, or grants: Arysta LifeScience, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, FMC, Hatch Act Funds ‚Äď USDA, Loveland Industries, Monsanto, NovaSource, Repar Corporation, StateLine Bean Cooperative, Syngenta, USDA National Insitute for Food and Agriculture, University of Wyoming Department of Plant Sciences, University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, Valent, Western Sugar Cooperative, Winfield Solutions, Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, Wyoming Crop Improvement Association, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, and Wyoming Seed Certification.
“Dr. Kniss served as an expert witness in the lawsuit “Center for Food Safety et al. vs Vilsack et al.” which related to the legality of glyphosate-resistant (GE) sugarbeet deregulation. Dr. Kniss was retained by the law firm representing sugarbeet growers and processors because of his experience and expertise on sugarbeet agronomy and weed control practices. Dr. Kniss was paid for his time and was reimbursed for expenses associated with this commitment.
“Dr. Kniss has served on the board of directors of the North Central Weed Science Society, the Western Society of Weed Science, and currently serves as Member at Large on the Weed Science Society of America Board of Directors.”
Dr. Ruth MacDonald:¬†“I served as a reviewer on the report.”
Dr. Richard Goodman: “Almost all of my income since 2004 is through UNL, with oversight.¬† A small amount (~ $10,000 per year) is from consulting fees with food companies. I do some small projects for USAID funded GE developers and Gates Foundation, and have worked on Golden Rice as well as other non-profit transgenic crop developments. Until January had contracts with eight biotech companies for maintaining the AllergenOnline.org¬†database (BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont, KWS, Limagrain,¬†Monsanto, and Syngenta), but¬†now that is only BASF and DuPont, plus Simplot¬†and Nuseed. I used to work for Monsanto (1997-2004).”
Dr.¬†Adam Bogdanove: “As a co-inventor of TAL effector nucleases, a tool used in genome editing, I¬†receive royalties from Calyxt, an agbiotech company that develops improved crop varieties using this technology.
No further interests declared