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Synthetic Biology Products Entering the Market Unregulated, Unlabeled—and Even With Non-GMO Claims

Up until a few years ago, the only genetically engineered products in the marketplace were agricultural crops—corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, and a few others. These were developed using transgenic technology—taking genes from one species and inserting them into the DNA of a crop such as corn or soybeans.

But in recent years, products made using newer genetic engineering techniques, such as synthetic biology, RNA interference (RNAi), and gene editing have started to appear on the market. These so-called “GMO 2.0” techniques are being used to create agricultural crops and inputs, food products and ingredients, personal care products, and supplements.

And, while the “older” GMOs were regulated to a certain degree by U.S. government agencies, these new GMOs are entering the marketplace without regulations or labeling and pose similar risks to consumers as the older GMOs do.

Some biotechnology companies are even claiming that products of these new GMO techniques are non-GMO.