Edna F. Einsiedel and Jennifer Medlock
University of Calgary, Alberta.

Plant molecular farming (PMF) is another phase in the ongoing research and development of transgenic plants, offering possibilities of producing therapeutic and industrial proteins. However, this technology poses important social and policy challenges. A public consultation was held in four regions in Canada using a modified focus group approach. Respondents received a background document on the technology prior to discussions. Five specific applications were discussed to investigate views on food versus nonfood crops, medical versus industrial applications, and containment approaches. Public assessments were on a case-by-case basis but were also clearly based on balancing benefits and risks as well as considerations of environmental impacts and regulatory oversight. Read more…

Key words: Molecular farming, public consultation, plant-made pharmaceuticals, policy and regulation, risk assessment, technology assessment.