African maize farmer with child on her back

Genetic Engineering may not solve Africa’s fall armyworm problems

November 17, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

The fall armyworm which is a major pest of corn in the western hemisphere has become an invasive pest in Africa in the past few years. Some groups are calling for use of Bt corn as a solution. In this video Dr. Gould describes why it would take great dedication and large resources in money and people to use this approach in an equitable and sustainable manner....

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In the ongoing controversy over whether and how to use a powerful new genome editing technology in the wild to achieve conservation and public health goals, two new papers urge caution.

Jason Delborne addresses CRISPR gene drives controversy in NYTimes, Quanta, and Gizmodo

November 17, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

GES Faculty member Jason Delborne addresses two controversial new papers in several articles published this week on the safety of field testing CRISPR gene drives in the wild. With links to articles in New York Times, Quanta, Gizmodo and The Atlantic....

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Jen-Baltzegar

IGERT Student Jennifer Baltzegar wins Entomology poster contest

November 13, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

Jennifer Baltzegar, a PhD Candidate in the Genetics Program, won first place in a research poster competition last week at the Entomological Society of America’s 2017 Annual Meeting. Jen is an NSF IGERT Fellow in Genetic...

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Photo of Dr. Jennifer Kuzma, Co-Director of the GES Center

Politics “Trumps” Science in the Regulation of Genetically Engineered Crops

November 7, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

In recent years, the regulatory system for biotechnology products has not kept pace with newer ways of engineering organisms, such as through the use of gene editing like CRISPR-Cas9 systems. Under the Obama administration, progress had been made in clarifying U.S. biotechnology regulations. In January 2017, in the last few days of Obama’s term, several proposals were made for updating agency regulations and guidance documents. In particular, new US USDA regulations were proposed for GE crops. Fast forward ten months, and the Trump administration has pulled this proposed rule back to “start fresh” and reconsider the issue. This is no surprise, as it is not uncommon for new political administrations to recall regulatory policy for biotech. Many industry and academic scientists developing GE crops are pleased to hear about the Trump administration’s recall of USDA proposed regulations....

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Graphic of corn cobs with DNA

Genetic Literacy Project: USDA scraps overhaul of GMO and gene edited crop regulations that biotech advocates viewed as ‘unscientific’

November 7, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

“I think the real reason [for the withdrawal] is that the new proposed rule would have brought more gene-edited crops under its authority,” stated Kuzma. “And this new administration isn’t too fond of regulations in general.”...

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Marine iguanas of the Galápagos are vulnerable to feral cats and other invasive predators. Credit: Tui de Roy, Scientific American

Scientific American: Could Genetic Engineering Save the Galápagos?

November 7, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

Campbell first became intrigued by the possibilities of gene drive in 2011, when he sat in on a conference call between biologists at NC State University and officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss a possible genetic approach to control a runaway mouse problem on Southeast Farallon Island, about 20 miles west of the California coast, near San Francisco. John Godwin, a North Carolina State neurobiologist who studies animal behavior, had learned of the Farallon issue while skimming the Internet in 2011. He happened to be at a university with an established infrastructure dedicated to experimenting with—and considering the ethical implications of—genetic manipulation. Two of his colleagues, Fred Gould and David Threadgill, were already discussing the possibility of tinkering with the mouse genome in an attempt to create mice incapable of producing female offspring. Two other colleagues, Jennifer Kuzma and Jason Delborne, became deeply involved in how to engage the larger world of stakeholders—government regulatory agencies, animal management officials, bioethicists and, of course, the general public—in considering the prospect of releasing genetically altered animals into the wild. Kuzma and Gould serve as co-directors of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State....

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Tractor plowing a field.

Science: Trump’s agriculture department reverses course on biotech rules

November 7, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

It’s a predictable move by President Donald Trump’s White House to take another look at the policies of the previous administration, says Jennifer Kuzma, a social scientist who co-directs the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “I expected them to eventually catch wind that this was something that USDA was doing, and reverse it.”...

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A gallery-goer interacts with an interpretive artistic piece inspired by the potential of gene editing at “Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology: Shaping Our Genetic Future(s),” an April exhibit by CALS' Genetics and Society Center, NCSU Libraries and CAM Raleigh.

Our (Possible) Genetic Futures

November 3, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

As crowds poured into Raleigh’s contemporary art museum during the April 2017 art walk, one white wall began to fill with hand-written messages scribbled on neon Post-It notes. Above was a sign: Write down one word describing how you feel about your genetic future....

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IGERT Student Jessica Barnes wins poster contest at 2017 American Chestnut Foundation meeting

October 23, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

Read about the ACF Annual Meeting and see more photos here. Full poster (click to enlarge)...

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Science Cafe

Godwin and Delborne discuss CRISPR and ethics at NC Museum of Science

October 2, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

GES faculty John Godwin and Jason Delborne were at the NC Museum of History on 9.28.17 discussing genetic biocontrol of pest populations, such as CRISPR gene drives to eliminate invasive rodents from islands to protect endangered seabirds. See PowerPoint presentation & livestream video (including slides)....

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