June 28, 2011
FAO has just published the "Biosafety Resource Book", based on materials from a series of training courses organized by FAO from 2002 to 2010 in the framework of its biosafety capacity development projects. The training courses were tailored to meet the needs of biosafety regulators, policy-makers and members of national biosafety committees. The courses aimed to offer them background knowledge critical in the process of reviewing biosafety dossiers and biosafety-related decision-making and to acquaint them with concepts and methodologies relevant to risk analysis of GMO release and biosafety management. The book consists of five modules and special attention has been paid to avoid technical jargon and to keep the modules scientifically accurate as well as accessible to non-specialists.
Module A, by O. Brandenberg, Z. Dhlamini, A. Sensi, K. Ghosh and A. Sonnino, is an introduction to molecular biology and genetic engineering. It reviews the basic scientific concepts and principles used in producing GMOs, and provides a brief description of current and emerging uses of biotechnology in crops, livestock and fisheries.
Module B, by E. Hodson de Jaramillo, A. Sensi, O. Brandenberg, K. Ghosh and A. Sonnino, is dedicated to ecological aspects. It provides the necessary background information on ecology and evolution needed to analyse and understand the consequences of introducing GMOs into the environment.
Module C, by A. Sensi, O. Brandenberg, K. Ghosh and A. Sonnino, is on risk analysis. It provides basic information on biological risks, concepts, principles and methodologies of risk assessment, management and communication, focusing on crop biotechnology and environmental risk assessment of GM crops.
Module D, by O. Brandenberg, A. Sensi, K. Ghosh and A. Sonnino, is entitled 'Test and post-release monitoring of GMOs'. It addresses the use and monitoring of GMOs under containment, confinement and limited field trials, as well as the monitoring of commercially released GMOs.
Module E, by A.M. Zivian, A. Sensi and C. Bullón Caro, is about legal aspects. It provides an overview of the existing legal tools and frameworks on biotechnology and biosafety, and offers a thorough description of the international instruments that regulate biosafety and their interactions.
The book can be consulted at http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/i1905e/i1905e00.htm.