Revisiting risk governance of GM plants: The need to consider new and emerging gene-editing techniques

Sarah Z. Agapito-Tenfen, Arinze S. Okoli, Michael J. Bernstein, Odd Gunnar Wikmark, Anne I. Myhr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


New and emerging gene-editing techniques make it possible to target specific genes in species with greater speed and specificity than previously possible. Of major relevance for plant breeding, regulators and scientists are discussing how to regulate products developed using these gene-editing techniques. Such discussions include whether to adopt or adapt the current framework for GMO risk governance in evaluating the impacts of gene-edited plants, and derived products, on the environment, human and animal health and society. Product classification or definition is one of several aspects of the current framework being criticized. Further, knowledge gaps related to risk assessments of gene-edited organisms—for example of target and off-target effects of intervention in plant genomes—are also of concern. Resolving these and related aspects of the current framework will involve addressing many subjective, value-laden positions, for example how to specify protection goals through ecosystem service approaches. A process informed by responsible research and innovation practices, involving a broader community of people, organizations, experts, and interest groups, could help scientists, regulators, and other stakeholders address these complex, value-laden concerns related to gene-editing of plants with and for society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1874
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)/Cas9
  • Crop breeding
  • Genetically modified plants
  • Risk assessment
  • Transgenic plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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