Renegotiating the Definition of GMOs: Stakeholders' Viewpoints on “New Breeding Techniques”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: Booth 61
Oral Presentation
Masashi TACHIKAWA , Ibaraki University, Ami-town, Japan
We are witnessing development of various new breeding techniques which cannot be regarded simply as genetically modified. For example, genome editing techniques, such as ZFN and TALEN, are techniques which delete some sequences of DNA without leaving any trace of the gene modification. In this case it is very difficult to identify whether this modification is made in an artificial way or just naturally occurred. As of the techniques called as reverse breeding, novel genes are inserted to induce certain genomic transformation at an initial stage, but the novel genes are removed from the final product (null segregant). Here it is open question whether the final product should be regarded as GM or non-GM.

    These techniques are actively being developed by venture business companies and universities. If the products created using these techniques are regarded as non-GM by regulatory agencies, seed companies, such as in the area of vegetable and flower, would willingly adopt these techniques to develop new varieties. In contrast, once their products is categorized as transgenic, regulatory cost are huge, and give a large disincentive for small and medium scale seed companies. Many countries now start to think over this question and re-negotiation has started regarding what should be regarded as GM, and therefore should be under regulatory oversight.

    In this paper I would like to analyze how various actors, such as government, industry, producer organization, are proposing the way in which these NBTs need to be managed based on their own reasoning. Semi-structured interviews to various stakeholders are analyzed to find what is determining factors behind their views on these NBTs. In short, I would like to show how boundary work on the definition of GMOs is being done again through negotiation among various stakeholders.