Scientists and panellists participating in a panel at the BIO International Convention have called on US policymakers to support a science-based regulatory review system and recognise the many benefits of biotechnology innovations.

The panellists said the current regulatory environment discourages investments in new biotech crops because of complexity and costs. They added that the US risks losing its competitive advantage worldwide if it does not have public investment in agriculture research and development, particularly when nations such as China and Brazil are investing heavily in biotechnology research.

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The panel was moderated by former US representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Panellists included Dr Roger Beachy, former director of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture at the US Department of Agriculture, and Jack Bobo, senior advisor for biotechnology at the US State Department.