The Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture has established a multi-stakeholder Steering Committee to develop a framework for responsible use and effective communication with the public.
“The steering committee will work to develop a framework that can provide assurance to the food system and other stakeholders that those using gene editing within the framework are doing so responsibly,” said Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), which facilitates the Coalition. “The framework will provide an opportunity for those engaged in gene editing to demonstrate their commitment to values that build trust.”
The Coalition recruited a diverse group of stakeholders to serve on the steering committee, including academics, food company leaders, non-governmental organizations, farmers, those developing gene-editing applications and related associations. The members are: Leon Bruner, Grocery Manufacturers Association; Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund; Natalie DiNicola, Benson Hill Biosystems; Michael Doane, The Nature Conservancy; David Fikes, Food Marketing Institute; Kevin Fitzgerald, Creighton University; Philip Good, farmer, United Soybean Board director; Keira Havens, Pivot Bio; Greg Jaffe, Center for Science in the Public Interest; Scott Kohne, Bayer CropScience; Emily Metz, Genus; Mike Paustian, farmer, Paustian Enterprises; Ian Puddephat, PepsiCo; Bernice Slutsky, American Seed Trade Association; Nicholas Storer, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont; Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California – Davis; Matthew Willmann, Cornell University; and Craig Wilson, Costco Wholesale.
“Gene editing holds tremendous potential to benefit society through genetic improvement that can increase the sustainability of food production, improve the nutrition and quality of food, improve disease resistance for plants and animals and enhance productivity for farmers around the world. Consumers and stakeholders across the food system are collectively seeking a better future, and technologies like gene editing that garner broad acceptance and support can help realize this vision,” Arnot said. “In order to achieve its goal, the responsible use framework must be credible as well as workable and affordable for the wide range of entities that use gene editing, including academic researchers and commercial enterprises of varying sizes.”
The steering committee plans to build on the success of self-governance models to create a recommended model for responsible use of gene editing. Once developed, the model will be circulated for feedback from a larger group of stakeholder representatives, and ultimately approved by the leaders of CFI’s Coalition.
In addition to the framework, the Coalition is developing communications training and materials to support effective public engagement about gene editing.