Objective

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.

eLearning

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:

Resources

SABP Newsletter

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

eLearning

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

Safety Assessment of Foods and Feeds Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants

Supported by a grant from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and organized in collaboration with the Indonesian National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) and the Indonesian Center for Agricultural Biotechnology and Genetic Resources Research and Development (ICABIOGRAD), this online training course for Indonesian regulators consists of ten modules on the topic of GE food and feed safety assessment.

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SABP Webinar Series: GM Crop Research and Biosafety Go Hand in Hand

Organized by the South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP) in collaboration with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), this online event was the fourth lecture in the SABP Webinar Series, which aims to build understanding of biosafety among students of biotechnology⁠, i.e., “tomorrow’s researchers.”

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Microbial Biotechnology for Novel Foods Webinar Series

Supported by a grant from the New Technologies and Production Methods Division at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Trade Policy and Geographic Affairs (TPGA) area, the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute organized this webinar series to discuss the history and opportunities of microbial biotechnology for novel foods.

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SABP Webinar Series: Biosafety in Agriculture Biotechnology – In the Eyes of Future Researchers

Organized by the South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP) in collaboration with Dhaka University, this online event was the third lecture in the SABP Webinar Series, which aims to build understanding of biosafety among students of biotechnology⁠, i.e., “tomorrow’s researchers.”

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SABP Webinar Series: Biosafety in Crop Biotechnology Research

Organized by the South Asia Biosafety Program (SABP) in collaboration with Jahangirnagar University, Savar, this online event was the second lecture in the SABP Webinar Series, which aims to build understanding of biosafety among students of biotechnology⁠, i.e., “tomorrow’s researchers.”

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Capacities for the Risk Assessment of GMOs: Challenges to Build Sustainable Systems

The need for functional risk assessment bodies in general, and in the biosafety field in particular, demands continued efforts and commitment from regulatory agencies, if results that are sustainable in time are to be achieved. Dr. Carmen Vicién, Agriculture & Food Systems Institute in-country partner, was a co-author of this paper, which references the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute’s involvement in the Partnership for Biosafety Risk Assessment and Regulation in Paraguay and the use of Agriculture & Food Systems Institute eLearning courses in Kenya.

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Results from the Workshop “Problem Formulation for the Use of Gene Drive in Mosquitoes”

Reducing the incidence of malaria has been a public health priority for nearly a century. However, before new technologies and associated vector control strategies  can be developed and exploited, it will be necessary to understand and assess the likelihood of any potential harms to humans or the environment. To begin this process, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the Agriculture & Food Systems Institute organized an expert workshop to consider the potential risks related to the use of gene drives in Anopheles gambiae for malaria control in Africa.

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Dynamic Role and Importance of Surrogate Species for Assessing Potential Adverse Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Insect-Resistant Plants on Non-Target Organisms

Surrogate species have a long history of use in research and regulatory settings to understand the potentially harmful effects of toxic substances including pesticides.

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Biosafety Research for Non-target Organism Risk Assessment of RNAi-based GE Plants

RNA interference, or RNAi, refers to a set of biological processes that make use of conserved cellular machinery to silence genes.

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Criterios propuestos para identificar cultivos genéticamente modificados que presentan un riesgo bajo o insignificante para el ambiente en condiciones de baja presencia en semillas

This article is the Spanish translation of “Proposed Criteria for Identifying GE Crop Plants That Pose a Low or Negligible Risk to the Environment Under Conditions of Low-Level Presence in Seed,” which appeared in Transgenic Research.

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