Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Jul 1, 2007
Project End Date
Jun 30, 2008
Grant Year
Project Director
King, D. M.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Non Technical Summary
The public, regulatory agencies, and research community need current and readily-available information about agbiotech research and product development, biotechnology regulations, and environmental issues associated with small and large-scale releases of genetically modified organisms. ISB provides information resources to support the environmentally responsible use of agricultural biotechnology products through searchable databases, documents and resource lists on the Internet, a monthly News Report, custom software to assist in risk assessment and risk management, and printed publications.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
a. Update and Revise "A Practical Guide to Containment: Greenhouse Research with Transgenic Plants and Microbes." b. Needs Assessment for Graduate Curriculum Addressing Biotechnology Risk Assessment, Biosafety, and Biosecurity. c. Continue to expand and upgrade the ISB Web site. d. Continue to publish the ISB News Report.
Project Methods
a. Input gathered from participants in a planning workshop and from USDA/APHIS and USDA/ARS will be used for expansion and revision of the guidebook, co-authored by Dann Adair, Greenhouse Application Specialist from North Branch, MN, and Ruth Irwin, Senior Project Manager of ISB, two of the original authors. The expected publication date is fourth quarter, 2007. b. Dr. Sule Karaman, a post-doctoral research associate working under the direction of Dr. Jeff Wolt of BIGMAP and sponsored by ISB, will survey current teaching/learning opportunities in the US and worldwide in terms of traditional courses, short-courses, and web-based modules that address this topic. On the basis of this information a workshop will be conducted to review these offerings in terms of their coverage, needs assessment, and opportunities for integration into a consensus curriculum for biotechnology risk assessment. Work products from this effort that would be delivered to ISB for dissemination would be a compilation of learning opportunities and report from the workshop which would outline needs and recommendations. c. ISB will continue to expand and improve the Web site contents, appearance, and functionality while maintaining the focus on biotechnology research issues and emphasis on risk assessment and risk management. In response to an increasing number of user requests for customized data sets, a library of programming routines has been developed. This library of routines allows ISB to expedite our response to future requests and provides the basis for formulating additional field test database tables and charts. These tables and charts are available for download for graphic presentation, comparative analysis, and data summary purposes. Upgrading and expanding the web site is a continuing process that involves the addition of new documents, news reports and publications consistent with the scope of the ISB program. New links to relevant web resources and recently announced meetings are added to the appropriate database. The field test and petitions for deregulation databases are updated almost daily, and Web links and sources for international field trials are checked monthly. In coordination with NIH, ISB will periodically update the searchable listing of US Institutional Biosafety Committees. Web versions of Proceedings from the two principal workshops will be made available at the ISB web site. d. The News Report is a twelve page monthly publication containing articles obtained from a wide variety of sources. Pertinent news releases and announcements are gathered from government, industry, and news agency sources. Articles are contributed by regular ISB contract writers, solicited from scientists who contribute reviews of their research in various disciplines of agricultural biotechnology, or written by ISB staff. The content of each issue is coordinated and revised by the Editor, reviewed by the ISB staff, and distributed by mail and email listserv, and is posted on the ISB Web site in both HTML and PDF formats. The Web version is fully searchable.

Progress 07/01/07 to 06/30/08

OUTPUTS: Information Systems for Biotechnology (ISB) continues to publish its monthly News Report reporting on developments in agricultural biotechnology concerning new research results, regulation, risk assessment and risk management, and industry developments. ISB continued to maintain the ISB website and the field trials database of genetically modified plants as well as the petitions for deregulation database, both provided by USDA/APHIS. ISB continues to distribute original publications of meeting proceedings. ISB revised, updated, published and distributes the guide titled "A Practical Guide to Containment: Plant Biosafety in Research Greenhouses." PARTICIPANTS: Doug King, PD, Program leader, web design, grant administration, database administrator, electronic publication distribution. Ruth Irwin, co-PD, News Report editor, workshop coordinator, publications editor, author. Lori Simmons, publication layout and composition, publication distribution, fiscal duties. COLLABORATOR: Dann Adair, Greenhouse Application Specialist/Project Manager, Conviron, researched and co-authored the guide, "A Practical Guide to Containment: Plant Biosafety in Research Greenhouses" TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audience for the ISB project consists of agricultural biotechnology researchers, regulators, educators, managers, non-governmental organizations, legal advisors, academic personnel, journalists, farmers, and the public at large. All information is available through the world wide web. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

The News Report provides information to researchers to assist in discovering new research practices and outcomes of research projects. Articles relating changes in regulation help to assure researchers conform to regulations regarding their research. The field trials and deregulatory petitions databases are used by APHIS to search their own data and are used by watchdog organizations to assure conformance with scientific and regulatory biosafety practices. The guide "A Practical Guide to Containment: Plant Biosafety in Research Greenhouses," considered the premier publication in its field, is a practical guidebook for safely conducting research with genetically modified organisms and is used in training courses conducted to assure biosafety and Biosecurity in crop research and testing.


  • Adair, D., Irwin, R. (2008) A Practical Guide to Containment: Plant Biosafety in Research Greenhouses. Information Systems for Biotechnology, Virginia Tech: Blacksburg, Virginia. Irwin, R., ed. (2008) ISB News Report. Monthly. Reviews the agricultural and environmental applications of genetic engineering. Distributed via print, e-mail, and online to researchers, regulators, educators, managers, legal advisors, advocacy groups, farmers and journalists.

Progress 10/01/06 to 09/30/07

This project continues a long-term effort supported by USDA/CSREES and most recently funded under Grant No. 2006-34191-17094. Funding was received late September, 2007. The Information Systems for Biotechnology (ISB) monthly News Report continues to provide research, industry, regulatory and other information to the agricultural biotechnology research community. Work continues on the second edition of "A Practical Guide to Containment: Greenhouse Research with Transgenic Plants and Microbes", a guide that is a simple and convenient reference on appropriate biosafety and containment levels for GMO research conducted in greenhouses. Target completion date is February, 2008. USDA field trials and petitions for deregulation of genetically modified organisms are updated several times each week as well as the other databases provided by the ISB project.

"A Practical Guide to Containment: Greenhouse Research with Transgenic Plants and Microbes" is an internationally recognized source of information used in training of USDA biosafety regulators and academic and industry biosafety officers to assure safe experimentation in transgenic greenhouses. The field trials and petitions for deregulation databases are accessed by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to reference the information for which they are responsible. The ISB News Report continues to provide research methodology and results to the agricultural biotechnology research community. ISB, in cooperation with the Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products (BIGMAP) at ISU is in the planning stages conduct a needs assessment for graduate curriculum addressing biotechnology risk assessment, biosafety, and biosecurity. A research associate working under the direction of Ruth Irwin of ISB and Jeff Wolt of BIGMAP will survey current teaching/learning opportunities, in the US and worldwide, in terms of formal/traditional courses, short-courses, and web-based modules that address this topic. The associate previously identified for this project has since left ISU and another is to be selected.


  • No publications reported this period