USDA Grants Assist in Science-Based Biotechnology Risk Assessment

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced more than $4 million in grants that will provide federal policy makers with scientific knowledge to identify and develop appropriate management practices to minimize any risks associated with genetically engineered animals, plants, and microorganisms. The grants were made by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

“It is critically important that we base policy decisions around sound, high-quality science that analyzes the risks of introducing new biotechnologies,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “The grants we are awarding today will give policy makers and regulators the information they need to continue making decisions that keep the American people and our food supply safe.”

NIFA awarded the grants through the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants (BRAG) program, which was established in 1992. In addition to supporting research that assists federal regulatory decision-making, the BRAG program also supports conferences that bring together scientists, regulators and other stakeholders to discuss topics related to biotechnology and biotechnology risk assessment.

BRAG funding supports research in the following areas: identifying and developing practices to minimize risks associated with genetically engineered organisms; developing methods to monitor the dispersal of genetically engineered organisms; increasing knowledge about the characteristics, rates and methods of gene transfer that may occur between genetically engineered organisms and related wild and domesticated organisms; and providing analysis which compares impacts of organisms modified through genetic engineering to other types of production systems. Examples of past projects can be found on NIFA’s website.

Fiscal year 2015 grants include:

  • Infinite Eversole Strategic Crop Services, Jonesboro, Ark, $25,000
  • University of California, Davis, Calif., $25,000
  • University of California, Davis, Calif., $500,000
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., $436,361
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Md., $485,102
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Md., $452,705
  • University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., $25,000
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, $499,033
  • University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn., $999,821

USDA Agricultural Research Service, Fla, $480,972

One Response

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