6893 Genetically Modified Organisms and Policy in a Complex, Diverse World

Sunday, February 19, 2012: 1:30 PM
Room 212 (VCC West Building)
Sandra D. Mitchell , University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
This presentation will investigate how both biological diversity and value pluralism thwart simple regulatory models for policies governing genetically modified organisms. For example, we talk about policy for BT modified plants, yet there are about 600 known strains of bacillus thuringiensis and the effect of different strains and on different host plants (corn versus cotton) as well as the consequences for pesticide reduction vary. Reasonable policy needs to take account of these complexities.  The consequences for biodiversity of introducing a GMO is relevant to successful regulation. However, given complex biological interactions and the lack of consensus on quantitative risk, predict-and-act policy strategies are not appropriate. Instead, multiple, iterated scenario analysis may provide models better tuned to the factual complexity and diversity that GMOs display.  In addition to the factual complexity, policies are faced with stakeholders who exhibit a range of conflicting values.  Mediation and management of differences should influence the shape of reasonable policy in the context of value diversity.
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