5 Biotech Products U.S. Regulators Arent Ready For
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of MIT Technology Review
Posted: March 26th, 2017
A new report issued by the National Academy of Sciences says U.S. regulatory agencies need to prepare for new plants, animals, and microbes that will be hitting the market in the next five to 10 years. The new products ... could overwhelm regulatory agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. Changes in the vast communities of microorganisms that live in and outside the human body may contribute to diseases, but scientists dont yet understand all these complex relationships. That isnt stopping companies trying to develop genetically engineered bacteria to treat a whole range of medical conditions. Ingested in pills, these living microorganisms could end up in wastewater and possibly drinking water. Early this year, the FDA proposed new regulations requiring researchers to get approval for gene editing in cattle, pigs, dogs, and other animals. This week, startup Memphis Meats announced plans to start selling chicken grown from cultured animal cells. The company is among a handful of startups aiming to develop animal-like proteins that dont require traditional agricultural methods. Lab-made meat falls into a regulatory gray area. Gene drives [promote] an engineered genes spread through an entire population. [The technique] is being considered to eliminate invasive rodents on islands and to wipe out mosquitoes that transmit malaria. The idea is that organisms would inherit self-limiting genes that drive them toward extinction. But a gene drive has never been tried in the wild.
Note: A recent Nature article makes it clear that engineered 'gene drives' are extremely risky and can not be safely contained. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.