Plant breeders will move CRISPR gene-editing programs out of EU without updated regulations, industry group says

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Credit: Hilario / Flickr

A number of breeding companies have promised to relocate their advanced mutagenesis breeding programs outside Europe and others will follow if nothing is done to change EU rules, Garlich von Essen, the secretary-general of the European Seed Association (ESA), told EURACTIV.com in an interview.

“They will have to in order to remain at the cutting edge of technology, attract the best breeders and develop the advanced plant varieties we all want to see,” von Essen added.

New plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) emerged as an innovative agricultural solution in the last decade, allowing the development of new plant varieties by modifying the DNA of seeds and plant cells.

Related article:  Programming CRISPR to fight viruses could lead to new treatments for Ebola, Zika

In July 2018, however, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis, or gene editing, plant breeding technique are genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should, in principle, fall under the GMO Directive.

The court ruling sparked intense debate. The industry and farmers said the decision would deal a severe blow to the competitiveness of the EU farming sector ….

Read full, original article: Companies seek clarity on breeding innovation to stay in EU

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