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Crop Biotech Update

Organizations, Scientific Leaders Send Open Letter to EC President about Plant Genome Editing

July 25, 2018

More than 60 organizations, including public and private research centers, universities, academies, technical institutes, and professional agricultural organizations and scientific leaders from different European countries have called for a "European Initiative for plant genome editing".

In an open letter addressed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the signatories stressed that the European Union must not miss out on the opportunities offered by genome editing of plants. The letter suggests three actions that could be quickly taken to enable Europe through its public and private sectors to place itself again at the forefront of plant breeding innovation, in the interest of consumers, farmers, the environment, and industry.

  1. Adopt a coherent interpretation of the definition of a GMO under the EU Directive EC 2001/18/; 
  2. Designate an EU authority to confirm the exclusion or exemption from EU Directive 2001/18/EC;
  3. Initiate discussions with countries exporting and importing agricultural products to harmonize the regulatory status of plants derived from genome editing.

Read the entire letter in English, French, or German.