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CEE Seminar: Oxitec's Mosquito and Future Gene Drives: Challenges with Risk Analysis and Governance

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Monday, October 22, 2018
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12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Professor Jennifer Kuzma, NC State University
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CEE Fall 2018 Seminar Series

In this presentation, I will discuss the current risk assessment and oversight challenges using the case of an engineered mosquito designed to kill its wild population and reduce disease transmission. These mosquitos give us a window into the complexities associated with risk analysis for future organisms released with gene drives. Gene drives are designed to spread genes throughout wild populations, and we are finding that current risk assessment and governance approaches are challenged by this technology. After reviewing the mosquito case, I will talk more generally about how we can adapt existing risk assessment frameworks for organisms containing gene drives to better account for the complexities, uncertainties, and policy and public contexts. With the emergence of these GMOs designed to spread in ecosystems, it will become increasingly important for regulatory agencies and technology developers to bolster their risk analysis methods and processes prior to field testing. I will end with a new principle-based framework, Procedurally-Robust Risk Analysis Framework (PRRAF), as a flexible guide for doing so within a variety of legal, regulatory, and governance contexts.