CAST Releases New Report on Gene Flow in Biotech Crops

The issue paper addresses the implications of gene flow related to commercial use of biotech crops.

The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, or CAS, has released a new Issue Paper, "Implications of Gene Flow in the Scale-up and Commercial Use of Biotechnology-derived Crops: Economic and Policy Considerations".

Gene flow is a natural occurrence in the biological world and always has been. The introduction of biotechnology-derived crops, however, has caused an increased interest in understanding and managing gene flow.

According to Task Force Chair David Gealy of USDA's Agricultural Research Service, "Humans have selected, adapted, and improved crops from diverse species for numerous purposes. Many useful traits are being imparted into biotech and nonbiotech crops, most of which are likely to impact the dynamics of gene flow very little, especially outside of farm fields. Pre-commercialization procedures that take into account the specific trait being introduced will help to insure that impacts of gene flow remain low." This CAST Issue Paper:

  • Describes biological traits being imparted into biotech crops and their gene flow ramifications.
  • Explains the phenomenon of adventitious presence and how it relates to gene flow.
  • Discusses containment approaches for the mitigation of gene flow.
  • Summarizes existing regulatory and risk assessment mechanisms for biotech crops.
  • Discusses potential economic implications of biotech crops in the marketplace.
  • Explores future policy and research issues.

"Science and technology have played a significant role in how the U.S. and other world markets produce crops," notes CAST Executive Vice President John Bonner. "This new paper offers insight regarding the gene flow potential and economic implications of such crops, and CAST is pleased to help facilitate this important discussion."

The full text of the paper "Implications of Gene Flow in the Scale-up and Commercial Use of Biotechnology-derived Crops: Economic and Policy Considerations" (Issue Paper No. 37) may be accessed on the CAST Web site at www.cast-science.org, along with many of CAST's other scientific publications It is also available in hardcopy for $5.00 (includes shipping) by contacting the CAST office at 515-292-2125.

CAST is an international consortium of 38 scientific and professional societies. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.

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