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Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects (2016)

Chapter: Appendix B: Revisions to the Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Revisions to the Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23395.
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Appendix B

Revisions to the Statement of Task

Building on and updating the concepts and questions raised in previous NRC reports addressing food safety, environmental, social, economic, regulatory, and other aspects of genetically engineered (GE) crops, and with crops produced using conventional breeding as a reference point, an ad hoc committee will conduct a broad review of available information on GE crops in the context of the contemporary global food and agricultural system.

The study will:

  • Examine the history of the development and introduction of GE crops in the United States and internationally, including GE crops that were not commercialized, and the experiences of developers and producers of GE crops in different countries.
  • Assess the basis of evidence for purported negative effects of GE crops and their accompanying technologies, such as poor yields, deleterious effects on human and animal health, increased use of pesticides and herbicides, the creation of “super-weeds,” reduced genetic diversity, fewer seed choices for producers, and negative impacts on farmers in developing countries and on producers of non-GE crops, and others, as appropriate.
  • Assess the basis of evidence for purported benefits of GE crops and their accompanying technologies, such as reductions in pesticide use, reduced soil loss and better water quality through synergy with no-till cultivation practices, reduced crop loss from pests and weeds, increased flexibility and time for producers, reduced
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Revisions to the Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23395.
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  • spoilage and mycotoxin contamination, better nutritional value potential, improved resistance to drought and salinity, and others, as appropriate.

  • Review the scientific foundation of current environmental and food-safety assessments for GE crops and foods and their accompanying technologies, as well as evidence of the need for and potential value of additional tests. As appropriate, the study will examine how such assessments are handled for non-GE crops and foods.
  • Explore new developments in GE crop science and technology and the future opportunities and challenges those technologies may present, including the R&D, regulatory, ownership, agronomic, international and other opportunities and challenges, examined through the lens of agricultural innovation and agronomic sustainability.

In presenting its findings, the committee will indicate where there are uncertainties and information gaps about the economic, agronomic, health, safety, or other impacts of GE crops and food, using comparable information from experiences with other types of production practices, crops, and foods, for perspective where appropriate. The findings of the review should be placed in the context of the world’s current and projected food and agricultural system. The committee may recommend research or other measures to fill gaps in safety assessments, increase regulatory clarity, and improve innovation in and access to GE technology.

The committee will produce a report directed at policy-makers as well as that will serve as the basis for derivative products designed for a lay audience.

Revised 11/18/2014

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Revisions to the Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23395.
×
Page 535
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Revisions to the Statement of Task." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23395.
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Page 536
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Genetically engineered (GE) crops were first introduced commercially in the 1990s. After two decades of production, some groups and individuals remain critical of the technology based on their concerns about possible adverse effects on human health, the environment, and ethical considerations. At the same time, others are concerned that the technology is not reaching its potential to improve human health and the environment because of stringent regulations and reduced public funding to develop products offering more benefits to society. While the debate about these and other questions related to the genetic engineering techniques of the first 20 years goes on, emerging genetic-engineering technologies are adding new complexities to the conversation.

Genetically Engineered Crops builds on previous related Academies reports published between 1987 and 2010 by undertaking a retrospective examination of the purported positive and adverse effects of GE crops and to anticipate what emerging genetic-engineering technologies hold for the future. This report indicates where there are uncertainties about the economic, agronomic, health, safety, or other impacts of GE crops and food, and makes recommendations to fill gaps in safety assessments, increase regulatory clarity, and improve innovations in and access to GE technology.

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