already been approved and are in the environment, can begin outside of the regulatory arena.
Although the need for research on the effects of GEO organisms is long term with many issues still to be worked out, many participants agreed that the need for such research is urgent. As Ellstrand reminded the group, GEOs are here to stay. As occurred so successfully in this workshop, scientists with biotechnology expertise working with those who study wildlife and habitats can have a profound impact on answering questions about GEO effects that are critical to ecosystems in the United States and around the world.
Anne Kapuscinksi closed the meeting by saying that in the next five years, she hoped that new projects—be they field studies, mapping, or stronger networks of existing facilities—will have already begun, through allocation of new resources, better leveraging of existing resources, and cooperation on institutional and investigator levels. Ten or twenty years from now, many of the analyses suggested in the workshop may have been completed, so that society has a fuller understanding of the risks of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs). With that knowledge, she hopes actions can be pursued to mitigate against the real risks, steer away from traits that may cause problems, and pursue the use of GEOs in areas in which risk issues have been laid to rest.