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Scientific Steering Committee

CRISPR and other genome editing techniques - implications for risk assessment

Report no:

Ordered: 01.02.2018

Publishing: 29.01.2021

Main message:

What are the challenges associated with risk assessment of genome-edited plants and animals? This is one of several questions that the Scientific Committee for Food and the Environment (VKM) wants to answer in a project on genome editing.

In recent years, CRISPR and other genome editing techniques have revolutionized gene technology. Genome editing techniques allows for making targeted changes to genes that already exist in an organism, or for removing genes. Changes can be made faster, more accurately and more cost-effectively than through traditional genetic modification.

Both positive and negative

Pigs resistant to viral disease, cows without horns, soy and oilseeds with altered fatty acid composition, rice with increased drought tolerance and dry rot resistant potatoes. These are examples of genome-edited animals and plants that can potentially provide better animal health, animal welfare, increased food production and positive environmental effects.

New technologies also raise concerns. For example, could genome-edited plants have environmental effects? And could there be health risks?

Consequences for food safety, animal health and biodiversity?

To ensure food safety and modern, sustainable agriculture, we need knowledge and understanding of the risks new products may have for biodiversity and food security.

Therefore, VKM will map and describe various genome editing techniques used in plant development, livestock breeding - both terrestrial and fish - and in the production of microorganisms.

VKM will also create an overview of genome-edited plants, animals and microorganisms that might be relevant to Norwegian conditions, and describe their properties.

VKM will examine the challenges associated with health and environmental risk assessment of genome-edited organisms, and what consequences introduction of these organisms in Norway might have on natural biological diversity.

The project group

VKM has itself initiated the project. Members and external experts from several disciplines participate in the work. The project group consists of:

Johanna Bodin, VKM member of the GMO panel - Academic Leader
Tage Thorstensen, VKM member of the GMO panel
Kaare Magne Nielsen, VKM member of the Microbial Ecology panel
Monica Sanden, VKM member of the GMO panel
Nur Duale, VKM member of the GMO panel
Rose Vikse, VKM member of the GMO panel
Knut Tomas Dalen, VKM member of the Nutrition, Dietetic Products, Novel Food and Allergy panel
Muath AlsheikhPDF, external expert from Graminor AS
Åshild Ergon, external expert from the Norwegian University of Environmental and Life Sciences
Sigve HåvarsteinPDF, external expert from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Carlos das NevesPDF, external expert from the Veterinary Institute
Rolf Brudvik EdvardsenPDF, external expert from the Institute of Marine Research
Kristine von KroghPDF, external expert from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and the National Research Ethics Committee for Natural Sciences and Technology
Dag Inge VågePDF, external expert from the Norwegian University of Environmental and Life Sciences
Dean Basic, Project Manager, VKM Secretariat
Siamak Yazdankhah, Project Manager, VKM Secretariat
Anne Marthe Ganes Jevnaker, Project Manager VKM Secretariat
Martin Malmstrøm, Project Manager VKM Secretariat
Micael Wendell, Project Manager VKM Secretariat
Ville Erling Sipinen, Project Manager VKM Secretariat

VKM's Scientific Steering Committee is academically responsible for the project, scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Read the Biotechnology Council's pages.

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no

P.O. Box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

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