Breakthroughs in DNA research present profound global opportunities to advance food security, environmental sustainability and public health, including personal genetics, carrier screening and pharmacogenomics. But scientists, policymakers, educators and journalists need tools to navigate the genetic information battlefield. The Genetic Literacy Project is a resource bank and NGO monitoring watchdog focused on DNA science communication. Funding would put the GLP on steady financial footing and support the development of the Big Ideas Gene-ius section, which highlights out of the box innovations in genomics, from the nexus of agriculture and bioengineering (Green Genes) to advances in synthetic biology. The grant would also fund writing by our affiliated scholar-writers, support for a Gene-ius/Big Ideas component at an annual conference and an annual GLP/Gene-ius general lecture at George Mason University. Innovation is not guaranteed. There are challenges. Genomic entrepreneurs need consistent policies insulated from an overly precautionary mindset that makes risk taking unrewarding. The words genetic engineering and biotechnology frighten people who do not understand risk. That confusion is magnified by groups advocating strict limits on scientific advances out of fear that we are tampering with Nature or God's plan. Religious and moral beliefs have roles to play in public policy. But what is the proper balance? Answering that question is a central charge of the GLP. Its key points of differences are the use of aggregation to comb the web for genetic literacy content and its leveraging of social media. Among its key content points of difference are its focus on patent rights and intellectual property; privacy and discrimination; the nexus of genetics and sustainability (Green Genes) and the promotion of Big Ideas in Genomics--what we call our Gene-ius section.
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