Can EU regulators keep CRISPR-edited plants out of Europe?

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[With] gene-editing scissors, or the CRISPR-Cas method …. DNA sequences can be removed from or added to cells. The target gene in the cell can easily be cut with a specifically pinpointed enzyme.

“In the case of plant breeding, we are speaking specifically of the type of gene-editing that can also occur and indeed does occur in nature – such modifications can be found in a 10-hectare barley field that comprises some billion individual grains ….” says Teemu Teeri, professor of plant breeding at the …. University of Helsinki.

In July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided that genome-edited varieties are considered GMO varieties in EU legislation. This means that the same type of risk assessment is expected for them as is for transgenic varieties …. Determining the degree of naturalness in plant varieties resulting from various breeding methods is complicated …. by the fact that [plant] varieties [produced] with gene-editing scissors …. [contain] no foreign genes.

Related article:  Anti-GMO Russia joins global CRISPR 'bonanza,' investing $1.7 billion in gene-edited crop research

[T]he United States [classifies] genome editing as a traditional plant breeding method. [Plant] varieties will arrive from the United States to European markets that …. are “illegal” in the EU, yet it is impossible to prove their illegal nature.

“European plant breeders will ….  without knowing use prohibited gene-edited plants …. when producing new varieties for European fields,” Teeri surmises.

Read full, original article: Gen­ome-edit­ing scis­sors will re­volu­tion­ise plant breed­ing, yet a pro­fessor fears EU countries will get side-tracked

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