The genetic engineering process, including gene-editing, creates new entities that have not previously occurred in Nature. When these organisms leave the lab either on purpose or by accident and enter our environment, they may replicate and become a permanent part of Nature’s gene pool. We don’t know how they will interact and impact various ecosystems and typically have no way to recall or remove them without inflicting further environmental damage.
A recent Department of Homeland Security report (DHS, 2020) acknowledged gene-editing technology, including CRISPR, as “a major scientific advance” that gives scientists the ability to “manipulate DNA far beyond previous technology and has opened the door to rapid development in the field of molecular biology.” The report states that gene-editing “has the potential to greatly help or greatly harm the United States.”
The current Regulatory Framework used to approve and regulate GMOs in the US largely ignores numerous shortcomings and side effects of the underlying technology. While the public mistakenly believes that GMOs, like medicines, are extensively tested and shown to be safe, that is currently not the case. The framework was never designed to properly assess the potential long-term impacts on health or the environment. The massive loopholes in the regulatory policy allow the release of genetically modified organisms into the environment with only cursory consideration of their potential environmental impact; this presents significant and unprecedented risks. These risks are particularly striking in the case of microbes.
Read the Institute for Responsible Technology summary on their report: Interesting that this was taken down by techcom…. must have been the truth…