Kickstarter Bans Future Projects Featuring Genetically Modified Organisms

#Science

Fri, Aug 9th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

After the controversy from Glowing Plants, a very successful Kickstarter project which offered GMO seeds as a a prize for funding, Kickstarter has "quietly altered its rules to prohibit creators of all future projects from handing out GMOs as rewards to their backers".

Strickler admitted that the decision stemmed from the recent success and controversy over one project to create "Glowing Plants" out of firefly genes, which earned over $484,000 on the website but also incurred worries from some scientists and anti-GMO advocates. The project isn't blocked from going forward because the rule change went into effect after it finished funding. Strickler himself said he thought that the Glowing Plants effort was a "cool project," and the ban is "in no way a reflection on the project or its creators." But the project's creators, a team of synthetic biologists, previously told The Verge they were disappointed in the move and said that the change might inspire their fellow scientists to move to other crowdfunding sites.

Strickler didn't offer much in the way of explanation for why Kickstarter didn't publicize the rule change more broadly its own. He claimed his company "reached out to a few scientists, researchers, and others in the biohacking world for their perspective," before making the decision. He also said that Kickstarter would be open reevaluating the rule as the debate over GMOs continues.

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