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Biotechnology

Trump Just Said “Biotechnology” for the First Time in 353 Days as President

Biotechnology is a $350 billion-a-year industry for the U.S., but until now, President Donald J. Trump has never mentioned it. 

Why you should care: Trump hasn’t ever said the words “CRISPR,” “embryo editing,” “eugenics,” or “gene therapy,” either. Biologists are understandably anxious about what he thinks.

What he’s said now: “We are streamlining regulations that have blocked cutting-edge biotechnology, setting free our farmers to innovate, thrive, and to grow,” Trump told a meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 8. (He added, “Oh, are you happy you voted for me. You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege.”)

He’s pro-GMO? Sounds like it. KFC-loving Trump may have been referring to how, in November, his administration scrapped USDA rules that would have regulated plants created through gene-editing tools like CRISPR. 

In an e-mail, a spokesperson for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the industry’s trade group, confirmed it was the first time Trump has uttered the word as president.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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