Funders respond to NASEM Gene Drive study

December 1, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

Funders of the National Academy of Sciences consensus study Gene Drives on the Horizon (2016) have published a response to the report in the December 2017 issue of Science.  The study summarized "current understanding of the scientific discoveries related to gene drives and their accompanying ethical, legal, and social implications," and was co-authored by Dr. Jason Delborne, associate professor of science, policy and society in the College of Natural Resources and executive committee member of the GES Center....

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Jason Delborne

Jason Delborne appointed to National Academies Forest Biotech Study Committee

November 30, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

Dr. Jason Delborne has been appointed to the National Academies of Sciences provisional committee on The Potential for Biotechnology to Address Forest Health, or Forest Biotech Study. The study will be looking at the potential uses of biotechnology to mitigate threats to forest tree health, identify ecological, ethical, and societal implications of using this technology in forests, and develop an agenda to address knowledge gaps in its application. ...

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Johanna Elsensohn, GES PhD candidate

Scientist to the Senators: Ph.D. Student Johanna Elsensohn

November 21, 2017 | Patti Mulligan

Written by Chelsea Kellner This article originally appeared on CALS News Ph.D. student Johanna Elsensohn understands the importance of intersecting science with policy: During the international Zika virus crisis, she worked with policymakers on one...

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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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Student Spotlight: Mike Jones and the Economics of Cutting-Edge Ag Technology

November 14, 2017 | Staff

The academic journey of Ph.D. student Mike Jones spans Peruvian potato fields and the irrigated deserts of Syria to NC State’s campus, where he investigates the impacts and public perception of cutting-edge agricultural technology....

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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 | Jennifer Kuzma

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....

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