Future GMOs – New Gene Editing Techniques (CRISPR)

Sunday, January 27, 2019 - 12:45 pm to 1:45 pm

dna helix graphic

Workshop Description

The Future of Mutant Food – GMOs and Gene Editing Techniques

New genetic engineering tools are promoted as being more affordable, accessible, accurate, and faster than the techniques used in genetically modified foods now in the market.

These new gene editing tools, including CRISPR, make precise cuts to plant and animal DNA and often do not involve inserting DNA from other organisms.

As imaginations run wild as to where these tools will lead us – Sustainable crop production? An end to crop diseases?  – the debate and investigations about risks continue.

Pressure from the biotech industry is high for farmers, politicians, and consumers to accept these supposedly improved genetic modification techniques – and their promised precision and reliability – with minimal or zero regulation, and for the organic movement to include them in organic food production.

Risks are further compounded by the accessibility of these tools – citizens can purchase DIY kits to biohack DNA in the comfort of their homes for under $150.

Who will create the GM seeds of the future?

It is crucial for organic farmers and consumers to participate in the discussion over these new technologies, especially given that the motivation behind much of it is the same as for GMOs.

Join US-based former genetic engineer Jonathan R Latham, PhD, and editor of Independent ScienceNews, as he explains the science behind these new tools and their risks.

The discussion, facilitated by Heather Lee from the Toronto Non-GMO Coalition, will then turn to their possible uses and the impacts on organic farmers and consumers, with insights from Dag Falck, Organic Program Manager at Nature’s Path Foods, and Lucy Sharratt, Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN).

The workshop will conclude with a Q&A period.

Presented by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN)

Panelists: Heather Lee, Jonathan Latham, Lucy Sharratt, Dag Falck

Heather Lee has an Undergraduate and Master’s Degrees in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo’s Environmental Studies Faculty.

Her focus was on fostering sustainable food systems and her thesis on Canada’s regulatory and policy-making framework for Genetically Engineered Foods and Animals.   She has presented her findings at events and conferences across Canada.

She is the Co-founder of two Toronto-based organizations focused on advocacy and education …. No-More GMOs (A member group of CBAN) and the Toronto Non-GMO Coalition.

Heather Lee

Jonathan R Latham, PhD, lives in New York City and has a Masters degree in Crop Genetics and a PhD in Virology.

He is the Executive Director of The Bioscience Resource Project Biologist and biopolitical theorist.

Also the author of scientific papers in the fields of Virology, Ecology, Genetics, and Molecular Biology Editor of Independent Science News and has written for Truthout, MIT Technology Review, the Guardian, Resilience, Salon.com, and many other magazines and websites.

Jonathan Latham

Lucy Sharratt works in Halifax as the Coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, also known as CBAN.

CBAN brings together 16 groups to research, monitor and raise awareness about issues relating to genetic engineering in food and farming.

Lucy previously worked as a campaigner and researcher on this issue at the Sierra Club of Canada and the Polaris Institute in Ottawa.

She also coordinated the International Ban Terminator Campaign which secured a strengthened global moratorium on genetically engineered sterile seed technology.

Lucy Sharratt

Dag is the Organic Program Manager at Nature’s Path Foods.

Dag Falck