SCC2011 - Engaging the public with issues involving GMPresentation Transcript
Science Communication Conference 2011
No but yeah but no but...lessons from the history of public dialogue on GM crops
Public dialogue on GM
Public dialogue on GM
UK National Consensus Conference on Plant Biotechnology, 1994
Citizen Foresight on the Future of Food and Agriculture (Citizen GMO UK), 1998
Bioremediation technologies dialogue, 2001
BBSRC public communications activities, 1995 - 2002
GM Nation?, 2002 – 2004
FSA GM Food Debate, 2003
Industrial biotechnology dialogue, 2008 - 2009
Future Foods, 2009
RAEng Public dialogue on synthetic biology, 2009
EPSRC / BBSRC Synthetic biology dialogue, 2009
Yes, but...and no, but...
2. Novelty and labelling
3. Sustainability, uncertainty and ignorance
4. Developing country agriculture
5. Intellectual property
6. Governance and regulation
Public dialogue How? Why? What?
“Stakeholders and members of the public need to be engaged in dialogue about new research and technology options. This dialogue should start with the problem that needs to be addressed, i.e. food security, rather than presupposing any particular solutions.”
GM in the 21st century agriculture ? David Baulcombe Cambridge University – Deepartment of Plant Sciences Growing concern – engaging the public with issues involving GM crops British Science Association May 26th 2011 Thursday, May 26, 2011 16
Reaping the benefits Science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture
unlocking the unrealised potential in plant genomes
Harnessing heterosis and transgressive phenotypes
next generation DNA sequencing, computer modelling, powerful imaging technologies are revolutionary inovations De novo sequencing of crop and crop pathogen genomes Sequencing of varieties and related species Expression profiling Characterisation of non coding RNAs and epigenetic modifications Thursday, May 26, 2011 19
GM for disease resistance ? isolated genes can be used in genetic manipulation – transfer of plant genes between plants Thursday, May 26, 2011 20 Gene RB cloned from Solanum bulbocastanum confers broad spectrum resistance to potato late blight Junqi Song*†, James M. Bradeen†‡, S. Kristine Naess‡, John A. Raasch§, Susan M. Wielgus*‡, Geraldine T. Haberlach‡, Jia Liu¶, Hanhui Kuang, Sandra Austin-Phillips§, C. Robin Buell¶, John P. Helgeson‡**, and Jiming Jiang*,** www.pnas.orgcgidoi10.1073pnas.1533501100
GM vs conventional breeding for simple traits retaining the characteristics of original variety to generate several new varieties at once 26 May 2011 21
GM for drought tolerance, water use efficiency, heat stress tolerance, mineral nutrient uptake – complex traits? genome analysis to identify relevant genes GM to transfer into varieties for improvement 26 May 2011 22
GM vs conventional breeding for complex traits both depend on genome analysis for identification of genes GM allows retention of the characteristics of the original variety both are long term exercises but GM may be more straightforward 26 May 2011 23
long term grand challenges for plant science ?
Increasing the efficiency of photosynthesis??
N2 fixing cereals ??
exploiting non host resistance to get broad spectrum and durable protection against disease ???
Unlocking the potential of the genome
crops are derived from wild plants that evolved to reproduce rather than to yield
robust complex systems do not operate flat out – they are buffered from perturbation by spare capacity and negative feedback systems
scientific grand challenges in crop production enhanced photosynthesis perennial crops so that soil erosion prevented, better retention and uptake of water and nutrients from the soil, no need to rebuild root system each year nitrogen fixation vegetative seed production (ie seed produced without pollination) harnessing of hybrid vigour new species as crops Thursday, May 26, 2011 25
gene flow transgenes are no more likely to outcross than endogenous genes conferring a similar trait gene flow does occur gene flow with transgenic crops should be managed as it is with conventional crops food crops with genes that could confer damage to the environment, people or animals should not be released
environmental effects of GM http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/fieldcropsipm/images/volcornON3-copy.jpg
science-based management is required for maximal benefit of GM crops
the biomedical model involving patenting is not appropriate for agriculture and crops
restrictive of saved seed
restrictive of shared germplasm in different breeding programmes
restrictive of farmer practise
discourages innovation by small enterprises and favours market dominance by large companies
unnecessary because commercial returns may not justify investment
feeding the world with with or without GM ?? 26 May 2011 29 www.jic.ac.uk/centenary/key-scientists/biffen.htm
Science Communication Conference 2011
PASSIONATE ABOUT SCIENCEthe challenge for policymakers Andrew Wadge Food Standards Agency British Science Association26 May 2011
How and why is GM different to other issues related to food safety and food production? Is it actually different to other issues? Evidence-based policies for a values-based public? GM food
Attitudes to innovation in food production 2009 review of published studies on attitudes to a range of new and emerging technologies: Our specific research projects have examined attitudes to:
Typical responses to innovation is it safe? what’s in it for me? what’s in it for “them”? will it harm the environment? what about the welfare of animals? is it natural? March 2009 “An Evidence Review of Public Attitudes to Emerging Food Technologies”
Attitudes to GM food findings included:
53% are undecided when asked “Do risks outweigh the benefits?”
some are disinterested but others want information to help them decide
Limited understanding of complex science means people make judgements based on their values
the public intuitively expect more / different safety studies than do risk assessors
e.g. clinical trials & long-term feeding studies
(British Social Attitudes Survey 2008-9)
Can science provide a better answer? risk assessment more rigour in risk assessment more openness more independence more consultation better explanation, to a wider audience general information about the technology
How can/do policymakers engage with concerns about GM food production?
e.g. superweeds, diversity, changes to agricultural practices
does it put the interest of multinationals above those of small scale producers?
will it benefit / disadvantage people in poorer countries?