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Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program (BRAG)

The purpose of the BRAG program is to support the generation of new information that will assist Federal regulatory agencies in making science-based decisions about the effects of introducing into the environment genetically engineered organisms (GE), including plants, microorganisms — such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses — arthropods, fish, birds, mammals and other animals excluding humans. Investigations of effects on both managed and natural environments are relevant. The BRAG program accomplishes its purpose by providing federal regulatory agencies with scientific information relevant to regulatory issues. See the Request for Applications for details. Continue reading

NIFA to Invest in Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced a competitive opportunity to conduct research on the environmental effects of genetically engineered (GE) organisms, including plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms. The $3.5 million in grants is available through NIFA’s Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants (BRAG) Program.

The BRAG program supports applied and fundamental research to help federal regulators evaluate the effects of GE organisms on their environment. Proposals are solicited to support standard research projects or conference proposals that bring together stakeholders to discuss and evaluate science-based data relevant to environmental risk assessments or risk management related to biotechnology-developed organisms. Continue reading

NIFA Announces $4 Million in Funding for Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of up to $4 million for research to help federal regulatory agencies make science-based evaluations about the environmental effects of genetically engineered (GE) organisms including plants, animals, insects and microorganisms. This funding is made available through NIFA’s Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants (BRAG) Program.

“Policymakers need sound science to inform their decisions on the rapidly growing field of genetic engineering,” said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “In addition to helping enlighten regulatory decision makers, this funding also supports the conferences that bring together scientists, regulators and other stakeholders to examine critical topics on biotechnology and risk assessment.” Continue reading

EPA Seeks Comment on Proposed Decision to Register Dicamba for Use on Genetically-Engineered Crops

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to register dicamba to control weeds in cotton and soybean genetically engineered (GE) to tolerate dicamba. Continue reading

New Requirements to Address Corn Rootworm Resistance to Bt Corn

In response to signs that the corn rootworm is becoming resistant to single trait Bt products, the Environmental Protection Agency is announcing new, more protective requirements designed to delay corn rootworm resistance to genetically engineered “Bt corn.” Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn produces a Bt pesticide, long used as part of organic farming, as part of the plant itself, to address corn rootworm pests.

When EPA registered Bt corn, EPA ensured that mid-course corrections could be made if additional restrictions on the use of the pesticide were needed to address evolving issues. For example, these corrections could include requirements for additional measures or use restrictions if a specific Bt pesticide begins to lose its effectiveness to kill the corn rootworm. EPA is adding additional requirements to delay pests from becoming resistant.   Continue reading

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.”

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Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

From the New York Times

According to a story in the New York Times last week, bee deaths in 2012 surpassed those that have been seen previously with respect to Colony Collapse Disorder. A recent concern that neonicotinoids are the main culprit has pitted beekeepers, researchers, chemical companies and some growers in a heated debate.  Part of the article can be found below. Click on the link above to read the entire article.

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