Note from GMOScience: The following has been submitted by Third World Network (

US rDNA Committee Disbanded, Exacerbating Poor Oversight of GE Research

Few outside the world of science policy noticed late last year when the US Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, in operation since 1975, formally ceased to exist. It was a surprising fate for a group that, some argue, was the single most influential in the global (non-)regulation of genetic engineering research risks. What does this mean for biosafety in the US and elsewhere? The crumbling of the US’ national genetic engineering safety net, which was never very robust to begin with, leaves yawning gaps in US biotechnology oversight, even as a raft of new and potentially dangerous technologies, such as gene editing and synthesis, become broadly accessible, and even as the US still holds itself out as some sort of biotechnology regulation model for the world.

The TWN Biosafety Briefing, ‘The quiet death of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC)’, suggests steps for rectifying the numerous problems. These recommendations are also relevant and have potential applicability elsewhere, both nationally and internationally. The Briefing is available here: