This Biosafety Report intends to contribute to ongoing efforts to translate the criteria concerning sustainability, ethical justifiability and social utility in the Norwegian Gene Technology Act into more concrete terms. It does so by presenting ten assessment questions that are important to consider when assessing whether late blight resistant (LBR) genetically modified (GM) potato contributes to sustainability, benefits society and is ethically justifiable in a Norwegian agricultural context.
Late blight is the most devastating disease on potatoes globally. Current control measures in conventional potato production are largely based on chemical treatment with fungicides that is costly, both for potato producers and the environment. If successful, cultivating LBR GM potato may result in a reduction of fungicide applications to control the late blight disease in potato production. Hence, LBR GM potato is claimed to be one of the first GM plants that have the potential to solve a serious problem for Norwegian and European farmers.
The report is written as part of a three-year research project (2013- 2016) funded by the ELSA program of the Norwegian Research Council (project number: 220621). The project intends to examine, through participatory and deliberative assessment methodologies, potential ethical, social and sustainability aspects from cultivating and marketing LBR GM potato in Norway. The report draws on insights generated during stakeholder discussions and public meetings on this topic, as well as review of relevant literature.
Gillund, F. and Myhr, A.I. (2016) Important Considerations for Sustainability, Social utility and Ethical Assessment of Late Blight Resistant GM Potato, Biosafety Report 01/16, GenØk-Centre for Biosafety, Tromsø, Norway