Future UK precision farming bill could free gene editing from outdated GMO regulations

“There is a huge body of scientific evidence that modern gene manipulation tools, whether CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing or other methodologies, are frankly safer than the methodologies that have been historically used. over the past hundred years,” said Neil Ward, vice president. and EMEA Managing Director of the American DNA sequencing player Pacific Biosciences (PacBio).

In a landmark 2018 decision, the EU applied the same strict regulations to genetically modified organisms as to GMOs. Although some groups endorse this classification, the regulations are widely considered in the biotech industry to be inadequate because it is very difficult to detect these organisms in imports, and the controls are likely to inhibit technology that could improve food safety worldwide.

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When part of the EU, the UK had to follow the same rules as the bloc. Now that the nation is out of the club, however, the UK government is aiming to make reforms. A bill called the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill entered the UK Parliament earlier this year, proposing that genetically modified organisms should be treated with less regulatory scrutiny than traditional GMOs, allowing new foods to enter faster on the market. The bill will be debated by MPs before moving forward in the legislative process.

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