Genetically engineered crops for biofuel production: regulatory perspectives.
Biotechnology & genetic engineering reviews 2008; 25: 331-61
There are numerous challenges in realizing the potential of biofuels that many policy makers have envisioned. The technical challenges in making the production of biofuels economical and on a scale to replace a significant fraction of transportation fuel have been well described, along with the potential environmental concerns. The use of biotechnology can potentially address many of these technical challenges and environmental concerns, but brings significant regulatory hurdles that have not been discussed extensively in the scientific community. This review will give an overview of the approaches being developed to produce transgenic biofuel feedstocks, particularly cellulosic ethanol, and the regulatory process in the United States that oversees the development and commercialization of new transgenic plants. We hope to illustrate that the level of regulation for transgenic organisms is not proportional to their potential risk to human health or the environment, and that revisions to the regulatory system in the U.S. currently under consideration are necessary to streamline the process.
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