USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Invests in Research on the Implications of Gene Editing Technologies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced awards to advance research on public engagement and the implications of gene drive and other gene editing technologies. The funding is made possible through the Social Implications of Emerging Technologies initiative within NIFA’s Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities (AERC)’s program area.

“Recent advances in gene editing technologies promise opportunities for meeting challenges that come with a rapidly growing global population,” said NIFA Acting Director Tom Shanower. “However, these advances also raise important questions about their acceptability and potential unintended impacts, so NIFA created the Social Implications of Emerging Technologies program in 2017 to fund research on stakeholder and public engagement with gene drive and other gene editing techniques for agricultural use.” Continue reading

Webinar on Gene Editing: A Next-Generation Tool for Invasive Species Management?

Biotechnology is a transformative technology, giving rise to a range of new products and applications, including for invasive species management. New developments in gene editing, such as CRISPR-Cas, allow us to easily rewrite sections of an organism’s DNA in a way that promotes the spread of maladaptive traits through a population. These “gene drives” hold promise as a method for controlling or even eradicating major invasive species, such as herbicide-resistant weeds, disease-vectoring mosquitoes, rats on islands, and Asian carps. However, this powerful technology also raises important questions about ethical ramifications, risk management, and appropriate application and regulation.
 
This webinar will convene experts to introduce this emerging technology and its potential application to the control of invasive species and to discuss the difficult questions on how to navigate the deployment of this new tool.

Date and Time: February 18, 2-4 PM ET

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