Viewpoint: Rapid advance of gene editing tools will make biotech regulations obsolete

A MAIN genes
Image Credit: Nils Davey/Investor's Business Daily

The case of the unapproved genetically modified wheat plants showing up alongside an oil well access road in Alberta is baffling on many levels, but the reality of Japan halting Canadian wheat imports could not be more clear.

It is also clear that the rapid advance of genetic science will make obsolete the legal frameworks built up around the world over the past 30 years to regulate plant genetic research.

There is no legitimate evidence of health risks associated with GM crops, but in a abundance of caution associated with something new, governments around the world set up elaborate regulations controlling how and where genetic research on crops could be done and under what circumstances any approved GM crops could be sold and internationally traded

New gene editing methods, coupled with other technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence, the pace of innovation could quicken even more, making it virtually impossible for regulation to keep up.

And so at some point the whole system that so tightly envelopes agricultural innovation might become unworkable, forcing a transition to a new system that still protects us against unreasonable risk but does not stop international trade because of something like finding a small patch of herbicide tolerant wheat plants in a ditch where they should not be.

Read full, original article: New technology will force rethink on GM regulations

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