Improving oversight of genetically engineered organisms

Jennifer Kuzma, Aliya Kuzhabekova, Kelly Morgan Wilder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Genetic engineering (GE) has been used to produce plants with desirable qualities for over two decades, and widespread, world-wide market adoption of engineered crops with pest and disease resistance characteristics has occurred. Genetically engineered organisms (GEOs), including GE crops, have been formally overseen by the U.S. government since the mid-1980s. In this article, our previous work on identifying strengths and weaknesses of the U.S. GEO oversight system is reviewed, and a new analysis of the system based on expert and stakeholder interviews is presented. Using both analyses and an examination of historical controversies surrounding GEOs, three categories of improvements to oversight are identified: democratization of oversight processes, establishing clear mechanisms for inter-agency and -organization coordination, and taking on uncertainty through upstream and fluid approaches. The paper also discusses feasibility issues and barriers associated with implementing changes in these areas, notably the overarching U.S. approach to regulation and legal authorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-299
Number of pages21
JournalPolicy and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Biotechnology
  • Oversight
  • Policy
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Political Science and International Relations

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