Genetic Literacy Project
Jon founded the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) to aid the public, media and policymakers in understanding the science and societal implications of human and agricultural genetic and biotechnology research and to promote science literacy.
What is the Genetic Literacy Project?
The goal of the Genetic Literacy Project, through the website and outreach efforts, including the compiling and dissemination of educational materials, organizing public and private conferences and initiating briefings with policy influencers, is to help the public disentangle science from ideology, prevent legislative over-reach, promote cooperation among public, academic and corporate science researchers, and encourage an ethically and scientifically sound development of breakthrough genetic technologies.
What benefits do advances in genetics and biotechnology offer? What are the potential pitfalls in manipulating the animal and human genome? Agricultural and human genetic engineering is reshaping farming, food and medicine, and genetic research is providing new insights into our understanding of evolution and human history. Biotechnology research can improve food security, the environment and public health. Yet, dramatic innovations, when misapplied, can also lead to unintended health and environmental consequences and present ethical and religious challenges. The GLP examines these often-profound issues on a daily basis.
Research into genetics and related sciences is widely embraced. But in practice, “gene,” “genetic engineering,” “biotechnology,” “GMO,” “synthetic biology,” “gene editing,” and similar concepts often stir concern and misunderstanding when applied to biomedicine, disease amelioration, evolution, ancestral and race research, and food and farming. That often leads to confusion and even resistance among the public and policy makers. In many cases, special interest groups misrepresent ideology as empirical science to block many biotechnology advances. We respect the uncertainties inherent in science but the GLP is grounded in the conviction that genomic research is an engine of innovation and job creation if applied wisely.
Transparency and Governance
The GLP is part of the Science Literacy Project (SLP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit funded by grants from independent foundations and charities. The GLP accepts tax-deductible donations from individuals, but not from corporations. To the SLP’s knowledge, none of the foundations which has donated money to the GLP has financial ties to companies linked to human or agricultural genetics.
The SLP also includes the Epigenetics Literacy Project, now on hiatus, which in 2016 drew on approximately 40% of SLP’s overall budget. The Genetic Expert News Service (GENeS), which was run with no editorial oversight from the GLP from 2012-14 is also on hiatus. The SLP and its various subdivisions have no formal affiliation with and receive no funding from any other institution other than those listed below and in our government filings.
Executive director Jon Entine was a senior fellow (unpaid) at the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy and was previously a senior fellow at George Mason University, which provided accounting services to the GLP from 2011-2014. The GLP was an independently operated division of the Statistical Assessment Service, housed at GMU, until 2014 and secured independent 501(c)(3) status in 2015.
- Drew Kershen, professor emeritus University of Oklahoma College of Law, agricultural biotechnology
- Nina Fedoroff, emeritus professor in molecular biology, Penn State University, former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Mary Boote (Roth), CEO of Global Farmer Network (formerly Truth About Trade and Technology)
- Ben Locwin, president Healthcare Science Advisors, PhD in behavioral neuroscience, MBA, MS; former director of Biogen
- Matt Winkler, chairman and founder of Asuragen and Ambion; chairman of the Winkler Family Foundation
- Geoffrey Kabat, senior epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, author: Getting Risk Right
- Jon Entine, GLP founder and executive director
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