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Project Title:

Genetically-Engineered Crops: Past Experience and Future Prospects
PIN: DELS-BANR-13-06        

Major Unit:

Division on Earth and Life Studies
Institute of Medicine

Sub Unit: Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources
Board on Life Sciences
Food and Nutrition Board

RSO: Laney, Kara N.

Subject/Focus Area: Agriculture; Biology and Life Sciences; Environment and Environmental Studies; Food and Nutrition; International Issues; Policy for Science and Technology

Project Scope
Building on and updating the concepts and questions raised in previous NRC reports addressing food safety, environmental, social, economic, regulatory, and other aspects of genetically-engineered (GE) crops, and with crops produced using conventional breeding as a reference point, an ad hoc committee will conduct a broad review of available information on genetically-engineered (GE) crops in the context of the contemporary global food and agricultural system. The study will:

 --examine the history of the development and introduction of GE crops in the United States and internationally, including GE crops that were not commercialized, and the experiences of developers and producers of GE crops in different countries. 

 --assess the evidence for purported negative effects of GE crops and their accompanying technologies, such as poor yields, deleterious effects on human and animal health, increased use of pesticides and herbicides, the creation of “super-weeds,” reduced genetic diversity, fewer seed choices for producers, and negative impacts on farmers in developing countries and on producers of non-GE crops, and others, as appropriate. 

--assess the evidence for purported benefits of GE crops and their accompanying technologies, such as reductions in pesticide use, reduced soil loss and better water quality through synergy with no-till cultivation practices, reduced crop loss from pests and weeds, increased flexibility and time for producers, reduced spoilage and mycotoxin contamination, better nutritional value potential, improved resistance to drought and salinity, and others, as appropriate.  

--review the scientific foundation of current environmental and food safety assessments for GE crops and foods and their accompanying technologies, as well as evidence of the need for and potential value of additional tests.  As appropriate, the study will examine how such assessments are handled for non-GE crops and foods.

--explore new developments in GE crop science and technology and the future opportunities and challenges those technologies may present, including the R&D, regulatory, ownership, agronomic, international and other opportunities and challenges, examined through the lens of agricultural innovation and agronomic sustainability.

In presenting its findings, the committee will indicate where there are uncertainties and information gaps about the economic, agronomic, health, safety, or other impacts of GE crops and food, using comparable information from experiences with other types of production practices, crops, and foods, for perspective where appropriate. The findings of the review should be placed in the context of the world’s current and projected food and agricultural system. The committee may recommend research or other measures to fill gaps in safety assessments, increase regulatory clarity, and improve innovation in and access to GE technology. The committee will produce a report directed at policymakers that will serve as the basis for derivative products designed for a lay audience.

The study is sponsored by the New Venture Fund, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Academy of Sciences.

The study start date is March 2014. The report is expected to be issued in the spring of 2016.

Clarifications were made to the statement of task on November 18, 2014. For more information, see

Project Duration: 24 months    

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Contact the Public Access Records Office to make an inquiry, request a list of the public access file materials, or obtain a copy of the materials found in the file.

Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 09/15/2014
 Meeting 2 - 10/01/2014
 Meeting 3 - 10/08/2014
 Meeting 4 - 10/15/2014
 Meeting 5 - 10/22/2014
 Meeting 6 - 11/06/2014
 Meeting 7 - 11/12/2014
 Meeting 8 - 11/20/2014
 Meeting 9 - 12/10/2014
 Meeting 10 - 01/22/2015
 Meeting 11 - 01/27/2015
 Meeting 12 - 02/04/2015
 Meeting 13 - 02/26/2015
 Meeting 14 - 03/05/2015
 Meeting 15 - 03/19/2015
 Meeting 16 - 03/27/2015
 Meeting 17 - 04/03/2015
 Meeting 18 - 04/06/2015
 Meeting 19 - 04/13/2015
 Meeting 20 - 04/21/2015
 Meeting 21 - 04/30/2015
 Meeting 22 - 05/06/2015
 Meeting 23 - 05/07/2015
 Meeting 24 - 05/12/2015
 Meeting 25 - 07/07/2015
 Meeting 26 - 07/30/2015
 Meeting 27 - 09/03/2015
 Meeting 28 - 12/02/2015
 Meeting 29 - 12/08/2015
 Meeting 30 - 12/10/2015
 Meeting 31 - 12/14/2015
 Meeting 32 - 12/18/2015
 Meeting 33 - 02/09/2016
 Meeting 34 - 02/16/2016
 Meeting 35 - 03/29/2016
 Meeting 36 - 04/08/2016
 Meeting 37 - 04/15/2016
 Meeting 38 - 05/06/2016


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects