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SAMANSVAR-Ansvarlig innovasjon og bedriftenes samfunnsansvar

Genetically Modified Potato with Late Blight Resistance - Deliberate Examination of Sustainability, Ethical and Social Aspects

Awarded: NOK 3.9 mill.

Potato late blight is the most devastating potato disease worldwide and results in huge economic losses also for Norwegian potato farmers. Potato breeders have not succeeded in developing commercial potato varieties with durable resistance to potato late blight through conventional breeding approaches. This has led to an increased interest in the possibilities associated with the use of genetic modification. Several European research institutions are involved and field releases of this type of GM potato h ave taken place in many European sites since 2006. This project indents to examine potential ethical, social and sustainability aspects from cultivating this type of GM potato in Norway. The project is highly relevant as this is an example of a GM plant t hat has the potential to solve a serious problem for Norwegian agriculture, may be highly beneficial to Norwegian potato producers and contribute to improved food security. Besides generating knowledge and identifying stakeholder views about this new tech nological development within potato breeding, the project aims to contribute to the operationalization of the assessment criteria relating to ethics, societal utility and sustainable development in the Norwegian Gene Technology Act (NGTA). Novel approache s to stakeholder dialogue and deliberations (i.e. the Problem Formulation and Options Assessment (PFOA) framework and the Ethical Matrix method) will be used during the course of the project.

Potato late blight is the most devastating potato disease worldwide. Genetically modified (GM) potato with late blight resistance has recently been developed as a means to combat this disease, and the first application for deliberate release was filed to the EU in 2011. This project indents to examine potential ethical, social and sustainability aspects from cultivating this type of GM potato in Norway. The project is timely and highly relevant as this is the first time that approval for commercialization is sought for a GM plant that has the potential to solve a serious problem for Norwegian agriculture, may be highly beneficial to Norwegian potato producers and contribute to improved food security. Besides generating knowledge and identifying stakeholde r views about this new technological development within potato breeding, the project aims to contribute to the operationalization of the assessment criteria relating to ethics, societal utility and sustainable development in the Norwegian Gene Technology Act (NGTA). Stakeholder involvement, learning and dialogue are ensured in all the three work packages of the project (i.e. through stakeholder workshops and online discussions) in order to (i) assess the sustainability of cultivating and marketing GM pota to (ii) examine ethical and social issues of cultivating and marketing GM potato, and (iii) further elaborate on the checklist for the assessment criteria relating to ethics, societal utility and sustainable development, as provisioned in the NGTA. The re sults from the research will be presented in at least five scientific publications, one report, three policy briefs and four popular science articles. We apply for funding for one researcher position, hourly-based salaries, travels and workshops.

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SAMANSVAR-Ansvarlig innovasjon og bedriftenes samfunnsansvar