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Risk-Only Assessment of Genetically Engineered Crops Is Risky

Herman, Rod A., Zhuang, Meibao, Storer, Nicholas P., Cnudde, Filip, Delaney, Bryan
Trends in plant science 2019 v.24 no.1 pp. 58-68
crops, genetic engineering, genetically modified plants, risk, risk assessment
The risks of not considering benefits in risk assessment are often overlooked. Risks are also often evaluated without consideration of the broader context. We discuss these two concepts in relation to genetically engineered (GE) crops. The health, environmental, and economic risks and benefits of GE crops are exemplified and presented in the context of modern agriculture. Misattribution of unique risks to GE crops are discussed. It is concluded that the scale of modern agriculture is its distinguishing characteristic and that the greater knowledge around GE crops allows for a more thorough characterization of risk. By considering the benefits and risks in the context of modern agriculture, society will be better served and benefits will be less likely to be forgone.