Is Europe, home of the Enlightenment, turning its back on reason and science? Recent decisions by Europe’s regulators, judges, and politicians suggest that the answer is ‘Yes.’
From the Court of Justice of the European Union’s “precautionary” ruling on gene edited plants to continuing bans on GMOs, to draconian regulations on crop protection products that could make it impossible to farm productively, science has taken a back-seat and innovations are routinely discarded in the name of a pre-modern past.
Recently, some 75 European plant and life sciences research centres, including the UK’s John Innes Centre, issued a call to European policymakers to reverse the Court’s effective ban on new gene edited plants. The result of this ban will be to kill innovation and bring the most promising breakthroughs in plant development in decades to a halt, they said.
New techniques like CRISPR are miracles of modern science. They allow researchers to alter very specific stretches of DNA to evoke desirable traits or to suppress less desirable ones. They create mushrooms that don’t brown, rice that is healthier for diabetics and oils with more omega 3 fatty acids. Potentially, they could remove the allergens from peanuts or make wheat safe for people with gluten intolerant Celiac’s disease.
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