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The biotech industry has long claimed that gene-edited or genetically modified crops do not need to be regulated by the federal government due to “indistinguishable” changes made to their DNA. Proponents of biotechnology, however, have significantly oversimplified the risks associated with gene-editing, which may be worse than earlier GMOs.

In September, the first-ever public detection method for a gene-edited crop was successfully developed and published, refuting earlier safety claims from the biotech industry. 

This detection method would allow scientists to detect previously unknown risks such as disruption of the genome, unexpected side effects and mutations, environmental impacts, including irreversible damage to biodiversity and ecosystems, and overall human health concerns. 

According to Dr. John Fagan, lead scientist from the Health Research Institute, “it is likely that this approach can be used to develop detection methods for most, if not all, gene-edited crops.”

In a world where environmental and human health concerns are constantly mounting, gene-editing is another threat whose long-term impacts are unknown.   

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth Show, this is Theresa Church from Global Justice Ecology Project.