64 Scientists, researchers and professionals strongly criticizing the council's proposal of a panel of experts tasked with completing a new NRC Study, “Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience and future Prospects, as these said scientist Submitted an open letter.
The panel is tasked with conducting a far-reaching examination over the next 18 months of the “history of the development and introduction of GE crops in the U.S. and internationally,” as well as of the “purported negative” and “purported positive” impacts of GE crops and their associated technologies (e.g. pesticides) on farmers around the world.
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) senior scientist, Marcia Ishii-Eiteman —a co-signer on the letter — explained:
As scientists and researchers, we are deeply disturbed by NRC’s creation of a panel that appears predisposed to endorse GE crops, without undertaking a balanced and evidence-based assessment of the real-world impacts of the technology. A successful investigation of the complex agronomic, ecological, economic, social, political and cultural impacts of GE crops around the world demands a panel of highly skilled experts trained in the social sciences and in multidisciplinary analysis, and having real-world experience beyond the microscope. Very few individuals on the proposed committee possess this expertise, a few exemplary exceptions notwithstanding. As currently configured, NRC’s panel has nowhere near the scholarly or real-world expertise required to produce a credible product.
Th scientists noted in the letter that NRC’s draft slate is “dominated by researchers from the biophysical sciences, the majority falling within a narrow range of disciplines and fields, with most scientists focusing their research at the cellular or molecular level…and within a GE crop development framework.” The authors emphasized the lack of sufficient social science expertise needed to answer broad questions about GE crop impact, and urged NRC to include rural and development sociologists, political economists, law and public health professionals, international development experts and ecologists trained in diversified farming systems on the committee.
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