Viewpoint: EU does world’s GMO, CRISPR crop research but blocks implementation while other nations benefit from the technology

greenpeace eu
Credit: Greenpeace

The story of agricultural biotechnology in the EU started with high hopes and expectations 25 years ago, when Belgian Professor van Montagu and a team of researchers in Ghent created the first transgenic tobacco plant.

Since then, many European research institutes and universities have been spearheading the effort to develop new traits and crops …. When the first genetically modified (GM) crops arrived in the US in 1996, the EU was suddenly confronted with the first GM soybean imports.

…. The industry had simply failed to communicate their work openly and transparently. This saw a prompt decline in enthusiasm and support for the technology and an exodus of European agricultural biotechnology science and innovation.

Related article:  FDA plan to regulate a gene-edited animal as a 'drug' will 'choke' research, experts say

Europe has now resorted to doing biosafety research for the world, while innovation was taking place elsewhere.

While biotechnology innovation in the EU stood still for many years, the world changed rapidly, with more uncertainty than ever.

In fact, biotechnology research is rapidly gaining momentum across many sectors. This opens up new possibilities in healthcare, industrial applications and agriculture.

The is EU is well-positioned to capture some of the benefits of these innovations, but it has to find a good way to enable them.

Read full, original article: EU Agricultural Biotech: Something’s gotta give

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