In 2016, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) asked a committee of experts “…to identify the kinds of products that may be produced with biotechnology in the next 10 years.” The following year, they published a report, Preparing for the Future Products of Biotechnology, which recommended that the key federal agencies involved in the regulation of future biotechnology products (EPA, USDA, and FDA) increase scientific capabilities, tools, expertise, and horizon scanning in potential growth areas of biotechnology.
Two years ago, The Environmental Law Institute (ELI) received support from the USDA to further develop a horizon scanning biotechnology database—that is, an index of new and emerging products and applications. The ELI database now contains over 300 biotechnology products. This ever-growing repository allows users to filter and search based on product categories, market status, and biotech components, among other criteria.
The database is a resource for the general public, researchers, policymakers, and others who have an interest in biotechnology and its market development. It is intended to have a global reach and evolve gradually. Additions to the database will be made periodically, as new information is received. Users are encouraged to submit new and updated information by logging in or registering for an account.
The database’s more than 300 records fall into 17 distinct categories. Chemical, Food, Medical, and Plant related applications constitute over half of the database’s current records. Each of these categories has grown significantly—the number of products in the Food category has more than doubled since 2018, as cellular agriculture and crop modification posit sustainable solutions to a growing global food crisis.