Crop Biotech Update

John Innes Centre Leads Group's Call for Clarity after EU Ruling on Gene-Edited Crops

September 19, 2018

The John Innes Centre (JIC) has joined a group of 33 signatories in a call for the Government to address the implications of a European Union judicial ruling that classifies gene-edited crops as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The group, composed of leading research institutions, universities, plant breeders, crop agronomy companies, biotech multinationals, farmers, and landowner organizations signed a letter addressed and delivered to Michael Gove, Secretary of State of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on September 13, 2018.

The letter, signed by 33 signatories, requests a roundtable meeting involving all stakeholders and Defra to agree to a clear way forward on research and future use of new plant breeding technologies. It states, "We feel there are significant questions that must be addressed urgently by government if the UK is to retain its strength in plant genetics, to use innovation to boost productivity and competitiveness, and to meet the challenges of nutritional health and environmental protection."

The move follows the July ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) concluding that organisms obtained by newer forms of mutagenesis, such as gene-editing, are considered GMOs.

For more details, read the JIC news release.