Viewpoint: To be competitive, India must follow its own lead in regulating gene editing

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Image Credit: Reuters

The European Court of Justice has ruled that organisms altered using gene editing tools should be subjected to the same rules as genetically modified organisms (GMO) …. the US Department of Agriculture held that only genetically modified organisms (GMO), and not genetically edited organisms, deserved special regulation.

However, India should create its own framework for regulating genetically edited organisms instead of following either the European or American models.

Climate change, loss of arable land and increasing human population have together strained our existing food resources, so new plant traits are needed to cater to the rising demand …. Plant breeding, gene-modification and gene-editing are all tools to achieve genetic changes that lead to better plant varieties.

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There are risks associated with the use of any emerging technology …. However, these risks can only be alleviated through transparent governance, not through moratoria …. Examples of impactful GMOs include Bt cotton, which has made India a global leader in cotton production, golden rice, which is under trial in Philippines and Bangladesh, and Bt brinjal, which has made considerable progress in Bangladesh.

Related article:  Genetically engineered trees could save our forests—but it won't be an easy fix

If India classifies genetic editing as gene modification – and so dooms GEOs to the fate of GMOs – we will be signalling our unwillingness to participate in the genetic editing race, whose winner will clearly hold the key to development in the 21st century.

Read full, original article: Time for India to Set up a Framework to Use Gene-Editing Tech in Its Farms

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