The growth of the bio-fuel industry has been badly hurt through regulations. Promising bio-fuel for vehicles derived from trees and grasses (cellulosic biofuels) is now faced, with regulations that are tarnishing the research. The new GMO regulations have put an end to the advanced gene modification.
In a recent study issued in the Journal of Bioscience, it has been argued that there is a need for regulatory reforms to permit the cellulosic bio-energy to advance. It is a promising source of renewable energy, which can hold a strong solution to reduce CO2 emission and global warming.
Steve Strauss, a distinguished professor of forest biotechnology at Oregon State University, as well as a lead author of the paper says that it is amazing to see such severe regulations. Gene modification technology is almost totally banned through conventions. This is tarnishing the promising benefits of gene modification.
The authors of the report claimed that exotic plant species could equally cause tremendously bad effects on our ecosystem, as their risk of proliferation is immense. However, they aren’t really faced with any severe regulations. It is awkward, as genetically engineered crops are specifically developed to solve problems.
It is weird that genetically modified plants which have only some minor modification to its gene, are considered more perilous than invasive species that constantly develop new genes. These exotic plant species develop higher tolerance and resistance against pests, droughts and heat.
Laws are prohibiting companies with technical expertise to pursue research on gene modification on plants. This is tarnishing the progress of a promising sector, expected to supersede gasoline, petroleum and diesel with bio-fuel.
Simple gene alteration could enhance the growth of plants significantly and therefore, reduce the cost of generating liquid fuels enormously. The crops could be designed so that less water, fertilizers and industrial substances would be needed. This benefit to the environment would be inestimable as less greenhouse gases and lower footprints would be needed to generate large quantities of bio-fuel.
Nonetheless, practically none of these progresses are being achieved.
The current conditions for cellulosic bio-fuels are costly. There are legal, environmental and market risks involved.
Strauss says that the legal barriers have even set a halt to the federally-funded research involving “ecological containment of gene-modified and exotic bio-fuel crops”
Scientists agree that regulations should be established for gene modification projects. However, they argue that it should not be on the process of producing the crops but rather on the end results. So that it would be possible to determine whether the traits developed would be beneficial and safe. It should be viable to accept projects with a high level of benefits and low-level of risk. The worse is that the current regulations are not allowing any of them. There was also a list of other proposals brought forward by the scientists concerned. They discussed the overall system related to laws such as increasing the cost and the time for approval of new plants.
Strauss highlights that it is fundamental to come forward with an intelligent regulatory system offering scope for various fields of research. Currently, gene modification is being jeopardized and categories as inherently dangerous even though science panels have associated the risk of typical breeding as equally harmful.
The regulation in place makes it even impossible to evaluate whether gene modification is safe or not.
A new avenue of thinking needs to emerge into political and scientific leadership to change these regulations. It is necessary and will become a prerequisite in the future to find concrete solutions for gene modification in the growing need of breeding bio-fuel crops.