Why EU gene-edited crop rules may not be as ‘far-reaching’ as scientists fear

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Gene editing is the biggest technical advance in bioscience since the discovery of “recombinant DNA” technology….[t]hat….led to the commercialization of genetically modified (GM) crops in the 1990s. Now gene editing (GE) is….giving researchers a fast, reliable way to make precise changes in specific genes. But its use in farming is in the balance after a [2018] European ruling equated it with heavily regulated GM.

The distinction between gene editing and GM could be crucial for the way regulators treat crops produced with the two technologies….Scientists’ hopes that the EU would take a more liberal attitude to GE were dashed [in July 2018] when the European Court of Justice ruled gene-edited crops should be subject to the same stringent regulations as GMOs.

Related article:  USDA eliminates antiquated rules for GMOs which it says will bring plant biotech regulations 'into the 21st century'

But some legal and regulatory experts say the ECJ ruling may not be as far-reaching as plant scientists fear. “If the ECJ ruling were to be interpreted to mean that all genome-edited organisms are by definition GMOs, then this would….result in unenforceable regulation,” says Piet van der Meer, who [helped develop] EU GMO regulations. “However, I believe that the ECJ ruling requires further clarification to understand what it actually means.”

Read full, original article: Why the future of gene-edited foods is in the balance

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