Gene drives and international trade : an analysis of World Trade Organization rules and their governance of ecosystem-altering organisms
Author(s)Fitzgerald, Lily(Lily Marie)
Analysis of World Trade Organization rules and their governance of ecosystem-altering organisms
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society.
Technology and Policy Program.
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The development of self-propagating gene drive containing organisms may have wide-reaching consequences, including for international trade. Given compelling potential applications in disease mitigation and pest management, countries may develop and release these self-propagating products of biotechnology in the near future. Such products will cross international borders through natural organism movement and through trade, potentially altering not only the populations and ecosystems of the country that developed the product, but also those of the countries to which they spread. Political and economic consequences will arise, some of which the World Trade Organization (WTO) will govern. The WTO's Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) is an especially pertinent set of trade rules which permits trade restrictions aimed at protecting the health of a country's citizens or other species only when scientific evidence supports the perception of risk to the health of citizens or other species. In the early 2000s, the WTO evaluated the SPS Agreement for applicability to genetically modified crops, but no such analysis has yet been completed for gene drive containing organisms. In this thesis, I first summarize the status of gene drive development, highlighting divergent techniques and their status in laboratory experiments. I then explore potential scenarios for trade disputes involving gene drive containing organisms, with differing technological and ecological specifications. I examine the text of the SPS Agreement, as well as its past application to trade disputes, to evaluate relevance to gene drive containing organisms. Finally, I formulate suggestions to policy makers and technology developers for preventing international disputes on, and disruption of trade by, gene drive containing organisms.
Thesis: S.M. in Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 27-30).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society; Technology and Policy Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Institute for Data, Systems, and Society., Technology and Policy Program.