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Brexit could free UK farmers to embrace CRISPR-edited crops, help meet global food demand, says UK former food and agricultural secretary

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

UK farming has been held back by the hostility of the EU to new technology, which is causing European research to stagnate and agricultural yields to suffer.

Last year, the European Court of Justice rejected the advice of its advocate general and ruled that organisms created using the precise gene-editing technique CRISPR-Cas9 should be subject to the same prohibitive regulatory hurdles as those created by genetic modification.

This represents a major setback for the many scientists who hoped that the court would recognize [that] gene-editing involves changes to an organism’s DNA, but does not involve the insertion of foreign genes.

Related article:  'Family duty' could explain why so many Chinese couples signed up for controversial 'CRISPR baby' experiment

Delivered properly, Brexit should, therefore, represent a wonderful opportunity for the countryside outside the failing EU model …. Global population, wealth and demand for top-quality agricultural products are all growing. Allowed to embrace the latest technologies …. British farmers can play an enormous role in meeting that demand, providing a huge boost to the rural economy and continuing the tradition of sustainable and effective management of the environment …

Read full, original article: Owen Paterson: ‘Brexit should offer British farming a wonderful opportunity’

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