It’s a huge challenge to make scientific information readily accessible to the public, but we believe the GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas (GENERA) can help make science communication about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) easier. GENERA is a searchable database of peer-reviewed research on the risks of genetically engineered crops. Learn more with these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Why create GENERA?
Public perception is that there is little independent research about GMOs, even though the scientific literature holds hundreds of independent risk analyses. We believe there are three major barriers to accessing these studies:
- The research is published in peer-reviewed journals with hefty subscription fees. Individual papers can be $40 or more.
- It can be difficult to find all of the research that has been published on a topic. Specialized search engines charge subscription fees, and even those do not index all of the relevant literature.
- Even if a person has access to journals and special databases, the research papers are dense and often difficult to understand. Experts in one topic may not be able to quickly grasp the key elements in a paper on a different topic.
Who is GENERA for?
If you are reading this, GENERA is for you! GENERA will be useful for anyone who wants to find information about risks of GMOs. This includes journalists, students, policy makers, consumers, and scientists.
How is GENERA funded?
It takes a lot of time and expertise to build a project of this scale from the ground-up. We are grateful to all of the amazing volunteers who have helped us find and add studies to the Atlas. If you’d like to become a volunteer, please contact us!
GENERA was started with a $10,000 competitive Education Foundation Grant from the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) for our proposal: “Communicating Risk with GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas (GENERA).” Note that views expressed on the Biology Fortified website might not align with all ASPB position statements.
How did GENERA get started?
GENERA started as a list of studies to show people how much research has been conducted on genetically engineered crops. We soon realized that the world needed something better than a flat list, so we developed GENERA as a searchable database that would make it easier for people to find and understand the research. Learn more about the history of GENERA.
What studies are in GENERA?
GENERA includes information about risks of GMOs, including feeding studies, toxicology, efficacy trials, and much more. For now, GENERA includes only peer-reviewed research and reviews. These fit into four categories: Efficacy, Equivalence, Safety for Consumption, and Safety for Environment. Learn more about they types of studies in GENERA.
How do I cite GENERA?
If you use GENERA to find information, we’d appreciate a linkback or a citation. This helps other people find the resource and gives credit to all the hard work that people have done to create the GENERA database and to enter studies.
Use something like this general citation when referring to all of GENERA:
Haro von Mogel, Karl and Bodnar, Anastasia. GENERA: the GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas. Accessed 1 Jan 2012.
Use a citation such as this when referring to a specific GENERA entry (the title and author can be found at the top of each entry):
Tribe, David. 12 year study of transgenic apple trees exhibiting stable characteristics and no unexpected alterations. Haro von Mogel, Karl and Bodnar, Anastasia (editors). GENERA: the GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas. Accessed 1 Jan 2012.
For more information
If you know of a study that we’ve missed, whether it shows GMOs to be safe or not, please provide a link or citation in the appropriate section of the Biofortified Forum. We’d like to be as through as possible. Thanks in advance for your assistance in compiling this resource. Also, if you’d like to start a discussion about any of the studies in GENERA, the Forum is a great place to go.
Another resource where you can find peer-reviewed GMO risk assessments is the Bibliography Database maintained by the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, part of the International Life Sciences Institute.
Finally, we have a primer on evaluating bias which links to some additional resources.