Gene-edited crops declared GMOs in EU court ruling


Organisms created by methods that alter the DNA, including CRISPR gene editing, should be subject to the same EU laws as genetically modified organisms, the European Court of Justice ruled today [July 25].

The ruling is being hailed as a victory for environmentalists. However, the effect might make it so expensive to launch gene-edited crops that few organisations besides big multinationals will be able to do it. The decision will have global reverberations because the EU is such a huge market.

…Then, in the 1950s, they started deliberately inducing random mutations with radiation or toxic chemicals. Much of the food we eat today, including some strains of wheat, comes from crops created by such mutagenesis.

However, the ruling continues: “It is apparent from the GMO Directive that it does not apply to organisms obtained by means of certain mutagenesis techniques, namely those which have conventionally been used in a number of applications and have a long safety record…”

Related article:  Viewpoint: Europe may miss CRISPR gene-editing revolution in agriculture, but that won't stop its progress


There’s confusion over the ruling’s significance, though. Some think the EU will definitely follow the ruling, which would be bad news for biologists wanting to create genome-edited products.

Others think the ruling is non-binding advice, and will not necessarily determine EU policy. Ahead of the ruling, New Scientist had asked the European Commission which is correct, but did not receive a direct answer.

Read full, original post: It’s official: gene-edited products will be classed as GMOs in the EU

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