#9 – Doria Gordon and Greg Jaffe – NGO perspective on governance of gene editing


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NGO perspective on governance of gene editing

Dr. Doria Gordon, Lead Senior Scientist at Environmental Defense Fund, and

Gregory Jaffe, JD, Director of the Project on Biotechnology at Center for Science in the Public Interest www.edf.org/people/doria-gordon | cspinet.org/biography/gregory-jaffe and @JaffeGregory

This talk will describe six principles for the proper governance of gene editing, addressing issues such as transparency, stakeholder engagement, government oversight, and voluntary stewardship, that were adopted by six US non-governmental organizations.


Biotechnology, which includes gene editing and other technologies, has the potential to address urgent food security, environmental, and human health dilemmas. However, these technologies also raise potential for societal concerns, environmental and health risks, and conflicts with cultural and spiritual values. Previous experience with the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the food system have in some instances resulted in public mistrust, underscoring the need for more transparency, better governance, and oversight of these technologies when they are deployed. To address these potential concerns, representatives of six conservation and consumer non-governmental organizations developed six principles for responsible governance of gene editing in agriculture and the environment, which were published in an August 2021 article of Nature Biotechnology. This webinar will present the principles and invite questions and discussion on both the principles and possible next steps for implementation.

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Speaker Bios

Dr. Doria Gordon is a Lead Senior Scientist in the Office of the Chief Scientist at Environmental Defense Fund, with a focus on ecosystems. Prior to EDF, she spent 25 years working in science, conservation, and management for The Nature Conservancy in Florida. Dr. Gordon is also a Courtesy Professor of Biology at the University of Florida and a Research Associate at Archbold Biological Station. Her current research focuses on the scale and measurement of net carbon sequestration in natural and agricultural systems. She also works on governance of genetically engineered organisms in agriculture and the environment, and risk assessment for invasiveness in plant species. Dr. Gordon completed a M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of California at Davis following an undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College.

Gregory Jaffe is the Director of the Project on Biotechnology for CSPI. Jaffe came to CSPI after serving as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division and as Senior Counsel with the U.S. EPA, Air Enforcement Division. He is a recognized international expert on agricultural biotechnology and biosafety and works on biosafety regulatory issues in the U.S. and throughout the world. He was a member of the Secretary of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture from 2003-2008 and was reappointed to a new term in 2011. He was also a member of FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee from 2004-2008. In addition, he provides biosafety expertise to the International Food Policy Research Institute and Cornell University’s Alliance for Science. Jaffe earned his BA with High Honors from Wesleyan University in Biology and Government and then received a law degree from Harvard Law School.

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