Europe rules that gene editing equals GMO
Gene editing programmes in EU will now fall under the GMO (genetically modified organism) law, according to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) who decided on the matter on July 29.
Restrictive regulation in the use of genomic editing technologies could reduce the investments made by companies in the field. New reports regarding this subject inform that Europe-based genetics companies such as Bayer, BASF and Syngenta likely will focus their genomic-editing research on other regions, such as North and South America, reports Drovers magazine.
Proponents of genomic editing maintain that the techniques modify an organism’s existing DNA to encourage the expression of desirable genetic traits or discourage undesirable traits, without introducing DNA from other species.
One of the recent examples related to the work on gene editing in livestock came from Scotland, where scientists used genomic editing to create a line of pigs with genetic resistance to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), one of the most destructive viral diseases in pigs worldwide.
Now, the ECJ rule can block such R&D programmes in the EU, mentions Jim Long, President and CEO of Canada's Genesus. "This will affect crops and livestock. The most relevant piece for swine producer is the Gene Edited research that has been ongoing for PRRS resistance. Now Gene Edited research will be subject to all GMO regulations in Europe. This will definitely slow if not kill investments in the GMO work in swine. We believe packers, retailers or food service will want to lead a fight to explain GMO pork to consumers. We expect fairly soon some Packers, Retailers or foodservice will insist on Non-GMO pork as a certification and for them as a branding and marketing opportunity. This in itself will pressure other pork suppliers to follow the Non-GMO Pork label.
We expect the European Union Court ruling will move to all countries with Gene Editing falling under the rule of Genetic Modified Organisms. Europe is a huge market and a global trendsetter. We believe that Gene Editing = GMO as a panacea for the swine industry is a misguided path that will only destroy markets and demand. Is not the science we are against, we are against losing customers", commented Mr Long.
(Photo source: Americas Tilapia Alliance)
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