CHAPTER 11: Biosafety and Regulatory Issues Related to Genetically Modified Microalgae
Published:10 May 2021
T. Dattaroy, P. Badami, and S. Dasgupta, in Microalgal Biotechnology: Recent Advances, Market Potential, and Sustainability, ed. A. Shekh, P. Schenk, and R. Sarada, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021, pp. 305-324.
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The post-pandemic scenario of 2020 may need mankind to revisit the food, fuel and biomaterial choices and perhaps algae will provide a much-needed sustainable and renewable option. This will also necessitate the need for a more balanced approach towards regulating the products of newly emerging technologies. Biotechnology offers a panacea if the three sustainable development goals of the UN are to be met and this has been emphasized over time by experts who advocate the use of technologies with judicious caution along with ongoing practices. Technologies are developed only when they are deemed ‘fit-for-purpose’, i.e. well-suited for their designated role or purpose. A technology becomes relevant when it is good enough to do the job it was supposed to do. In rapidly advancing fields, fit-for-purpose regulatory mechanisms for risk assessment, regulatory/ethical approval, product claims and labelling with confidence of all stakeholders must be future-proofed by design to be significantly agile to address future developments and strategies. It is hoped that in the post-pandemic scenario, any presumed risk assessment will, whenever possible, be gradually replaced by the adoption and monitoring of good cultivation practices. For any genetically modified algae, the regulators should invite experts to conduct risk assessments that have been hitherto used for agricultural crops and then proceed to implement the regulatory guidelines.