US—but not China—approves GMO rice developed by Chinese scientists

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared a genetically modified strain of rice to be commercially viable, but the Chinese researchers who developed it say large-scale production is not yet possible due to a lack of policy at home.

In a Jan. 11 email to Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province, the FDA said that Huahui No. 1, a strain of rice genetically engineered by scientists at the university to resist pests, “does not raise issues that would require premarket review of approval by the FDA,” according to a Monday report by state media outlet Science and Technology Daily. The FDA’s announcement was also published on its official website.

To the researchers, this a huge step — but only in theory. “It means that we could now sell this strain of rice on the U.S. market,” Lin Yongjun, a member of the Huazhong Agricultural University research team, told Sixth Tone. But Lin explained that for now at least, the plants cannot be sold to the U.S. because production is impossible in China.

As the world’s largest producer and consumer of rice, China encourages experimentation and innovation when it comes to developing hybrid varieties but blocks commercialization of genetically modified strains. According to Lin, the point of applying for recognition from the FDA is to encourage regulators in China to reconsider policy.

Read full, original post: China’s GMO Rice Gets Approval Abroad, But Not at Home

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