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EU’s prohibitive gene-editing rules spur unprecedented backlash from plant scientists, crop biotech firms

| | March 1, 2019
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Europe's Court of Justice ruled that CRISPR crops are GMOs in 2018. Image: The Institute of International and European Affairs
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The controversial decision by the European courts [in July 2018] to regulate gene edited organisms as GMOs has already had a damaging effect on European biotechs working in this area. Many believe it could have been prevented through a better dialogue between scientists, legal experts and the general public….

Last summer’s decision was initiated by a request from the French government in 2016 to ‘re-interpret’ the current GMO directive based on new plant editing techniques that have arisen since 2001. The resulting decision to apply stricter regulation to organisms that have undergone gene editing has had far reaching outcomes and according to many has conclusively demonstrated that the EU’s GMO directive is ‘no longer fit for purpose.’

Related article:  Talking Biotech: Probing the psychology of consumers who fear GMOs

While the nature of EU law makes it unlikely that the ruling will be overturned any time soon….[i]t has mobilized researchers and businesses working in this space to work together to promote positive change in previously unseen ways.

Indeed, in November [2018] the chief scientific advisors to the European Commission issued a statement concluding that “new scientific knowledge and recent technical developments have made the GMO Directive no longer fit for purpose.”

Read full, original article: Why the GMO Regulations in Europe are ‘Not Fit for Purpose’

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