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Cisgenics as emerging bio-objects: bio-objectification and bio-identification in agrobiotech innovation

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Cisgenesis is a genetic modification of a recipient organism with genetic material from a crossable organism. Trying to free cisgenics from the regulatory guidelines of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), some scientists have suggested to classify the genetically modified products by the origin of transferred genes. Aiming at exploring how scientists frame cisgenics in relation to current legal frameworks, we have sent an extensive survey to the totality of researchers working on cisgenics. Trying to provide cisgenics with a new, uncontroversial identity, the respondents present cisgenics as a method of obtaining “natural,” environmentally friendly and economically sustainable crops. However, such strategy is challenged by GMO corporations opposing a segmentation of the sector, and by the opponents of GMOs, who fear that deregulation on cisgenics leads to the deregulation of GMOs. Drawing from the concepts of bio-objectification and bio-identification, we show how the status of this bio-object is likely to remain contested and contestable.
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Keywords: bio-objects; cisgenics; de-regulation; innovation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Public Goods and Policies (IPP-CSIC), Calle Albasanz 26–28, Madrid, 28012, Spain 2: MUSE – Science Museum, Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza 3, 38122, Trento, Italy

Publication date: January 2, 2015

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