Biochemistry professor Rick Amasino and life sciences communication professor Dominique Brossard were in Washington D.C. last week to participate in the congressional and public briefings associated with the release of a new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on GMOs. Both were members of the committee tasked with assembling the report, titled “Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects.”
The report, available online at the committee’s website, provides an independent, objective examination of a range of issues related to GE crops — including economic, agronomic, health, safety and other factors — based on current scientific evidence.
According to William Kearney with the Academies’ Office of News & Public Information, the report was the fastest Academies report to reach 10,000 downloads. It has already been downloaded in 110 countries and there has been press coverage in seven languages.
Brossard points out that the committee took an innovative approach to help increase the openness and transparency of their work, including having a committee website that shared information about the committee and its efforts along the way, and choosing to include information/resources that guided committee decisions in the final report.
The committee members also made sure to listen to and incorporate a large range of voices and points of view. They examined over 1,000 research and other publications related to the topic; held information-gathering meetings via three in-person meetings and 15 webinars (for a total of 80 presentations); and read more than 700 comments submitted by members of the public.