New technologies have the promise to transform agricultural productivity and nutrition. However, many governments lack the risk assessment resources and experience needed to assure decision-makers and the public that environmental and food safety concerns posed by products of these technologies have been adequately addressed. The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute is developing risk assessment resources and providing training to scientists, risk assessors, and regulators, to promote science-based risk assessments of products of biotechnology.

Collaborators & Partners

US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), and governmental ministries and departments in India and Bangladesh.

Current Programs

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute's active programs related to biosafety capacity building include:

South Asia Biosafety Program

Managed by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, SABP assists India and Bangladesh in further strengthening institutional governance of biotechnology.


Self-paced and interactive courses developed by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute serve as supplemental training resources to in-person workshops.

Past Work

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute's concluded projects in the area of biosafety capacity building include:


SABP Newsletter

Find out about the work being done through the South Asia Biosafety Program by reading our monthly newsletter.


The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute has developed eLearning courses that focus on biosafety.

2nd Institutional Biosafety Officer Workshop

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute’s South Asia Biosafety Program arranged a day-long workshop to take stock of the present status at various research institutes and laboratories that are actively involved in GE research in Bangladesh.

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Data Transportability for COMESA Workshop

Hosted by the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute, in partnership with COMESA and ASARECA, this workshop introduced the online GEnZ Explorer tool, which allows confined field trial (CFT) locations to be characterized with respect to agroclimatic zones to facilitate data transportability of CFTs.

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Moving Research from the Laboratory for Field Trials: Regulatory Pathway for Genetically Engineered Organisms and their Derived Products

Dr. Andrew Roberts, Deputy Executive Director, conducted a guided problem formulation exercise during a workshop organized by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH).

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4th International Conference of Biotechnology on Health and Agriculture

The Agriculture & Food Systems Institute’s South Asia Biosafety Program sponsored a technical session on Biosafety and the Environment at the 4th International Conference of Biotechnology on Health and Agriculture, which was organized jointly by the Global Network of Bangladeshi Biotechnologists and Innovation in Plant and Food Sciences.

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Symposium on Risk Assessment of Plants Developed Using New Breeding Technologies

Dr. Morven McLean, Agriculture & Food Systems Institute Executive Director, delivered a presentation on Environmental Risk Assessment of Gene Edited Plants at the Symposium on Risk Assessment and Regulation of Genome Edited Plants, in Manila, the Philippines.

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Sublethal Endpoints in Non-Target Organism Testing for Insect-Active GE Crops

This review paper focuses on the current status and history of sublethal endpoint use in insect-active GE crops and evaluates the future use of sublethal endpoints for new and emerging technologies.

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Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Species

This publication provides an overview of the state of genetic biocontrol, focusing on several approaches that were the subject of presentations at the Genetic Biocontrol for Invasive Species Workshop, which was sponsored by the OECD’s Co-operative Research Program on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems.

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Problem Formulation for Gene Drive Mosquitoes Designed to Reduce Malaria Transmission in Africa: Results from Four Regional Consultations 2016–2018

This summary publication captures the findings from four African consultations organized by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to identify risk hypotheses and data needs for future environmental risk assessment of gene drives in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae.

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Agricultural Biotechnology and Biosafety in South Asia: Progress and Prospects

This book contains the papers and proceedings of the SAARC Regional Consultative Meeting on the Progress and Prospects of Agricultural Biotechnology and Biosafety in South Asia, which took place on June 18- 20, 2019 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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OECD Consensus Document of the Biology of Mosquito Aedes aegypti

Volume 8 of the series Safety Assessment of Transgenic Organisms in the Environment contains the first OECD biosafety consensus document to deal with the biology of an insect, the mosquito Aedes aegypti.

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