The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) has discussed having national experts educate citrus researchers about the regulatory issues that could impact possible solutions to citrus problems. CRDF Chief Operations Officer Harold Browning explains the need for such education.
“It’s a changing world, and researchers are being asked not to just do the experiment and write the paper and give their presentation, but contemplate how it’s going to take the next step to deployment in the field,” Browning says. “And often that means, if the technology requires it, some kind of regulatory oversight, whether it’s state or federal. So historically we waited until we had a solution, and then initiated the effort to go through the regulatory pathway. That can take years …
“So much of what CRDF is doing right now … is anticipating and coordinating, bringing the teams together to start testing in the field some of these new solutions that are based on biotechnology that we know will be regulated. The researchers would rather someone else do that (address regulatory issues), and so that’s why we’re taking on this role.
“But an important part of it … is education. If you are gene editing, what pathways does that have to follow? How is it different than a genetically engineered plant where the genes are permanently affixed to the plant? How is that different than if you’re going to use RNAi?
“So we’re contemplating bringing together some experts from the national level to conduct a workshop for our CRDF community, and particularly the researchers that are doing this work, so they can anticipate what kind of research data will be necessary to answer the regulatory questions.”
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