Council for Responsible Genetics , 1983-present


The Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG) is a nonprofit, non-government organization founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1983. It is dedicated to discussing the public impacts of biotechnology and genetics. CRG began publishing GeneWatch, a magazine addressing the implications of scientific developments in applied genetics, in 1983.

History of Council for Responsible Genetics

The Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG) is a nonprofit, non-government organization founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1983. The organization was founded by a group of scientists and advocates to publicly address concerns over the social and civic implications of developments in biotechnology and applied genetics, a topic that had previously received little public attention.

Early activities included a briefing for the United States Congress in 1985 and a panel for the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1986, both on the topic of gene splicing for biological weapons. CRG began publishing GeneWatch, a magazine addressing the implications of scientific developments in applied genetics, in 1983.

CRG created the Safe Seed Campaign in 1999 to increase the transparency of genetic modification in commercially sold seeds, in order to help consumers make informed purchases. By 2001 ten percent of seed catalogs in the United States used the “Safe Seed Pledge,” ensuring that the seeds being sold were not genetically modified. CRG later worked to found and direct the Coalition for Genetic Fairness, which comprised over 500 separate organizations in support of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). GINA was signed into law in 2008, protecting Americans from discrimination by employers and health insurers based on genetic information. Additionally, in support of GINA, CRG compiled the first documentation concerning individuals who had been discriminated against by employers and insurance agencies based on family genetic history.

Sheldon Krimsky, professor of Urban and Environmental and Policy and Adjunct Professor in Public Health and Family Medicine at Tufts University, serves as the Council for Responsible Genetics Chair of the Board.

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