Growing and selling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is permitted in the UK but GMO products are subject to a lengthy and stringent EU authorization process. There are currently no GM crops grown commercially in the UK, but they are imported. So, what is the UK’s relationship with GM products, and where do we stand on gene editing? We spoke with Nigel Halford, Principal Research Scientist at Rothamsted Research, UK.
What do you think the UK’s relationship with GM and gene-edited plant organisms will look like in the future?
There is still a huge amount of uncertainty as to what will happen post-Brexit. We do not know what the long-term trading agreement will mean for UK regulation. Will the UK have to retain regulatory alignment with the EU or not? We just don’t know.
What we do know is that, quite surprisingly to many of us, crop biotechnology was one of the things Boris Johnson talked about in the first speech he made as Prime Minister in July 2019. He said that he wanted to push biotech forward – which would mean escaping European regulations. So that is something promising. But it’s still up in the air as to whether that will actually happen.
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