Biotech Updates

Regional Expert Consultation on Gene Editing in Agriculture and its Regulation

February 19, 2020

The Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) led six other institutions in reviewing the status of regulatory policies for gene editing across the globe, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The Regional Expert Consultation on Gene Editing and its Regulation was held at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India on October 10-11, 2019 and gathered experts from 12 different countries in the region.

The Expert Consultation aimed to highlight the innovations through gene editing and their impact in the agricultural sector; review the status of regulatory policies around gene editing across the globe particularly in countries of Asia-Pacific region; provide a platform to promote adoption of science-based predictable policies for regulating gene-edited crops and breeds; provide a platform to discuss the impact of regulatory hurdles, delays and associated high cost on technology adoption; and discuss communication strategies, enabling policies for plant and animal breeding innovations.

From the two-day deliberations and the discussions, key recommendations include the following:

  1. Consistency can be achieved by not regulating products of plant varieties developed through the latest breeding methods if they are similar or indistinguishable from varieties produced through earlier breeding methods.
  2. Science-based, predictable and proportionate regulations with clear timelines are urgently required to encourage innovations. Countries should clarify the scope of their regulation for the products of gene editing at the earliest.
  3. Harmonization of approaches within the Asia-Pacific region is important for collaboration in research, capacity development, regulation, and trade. Efforts towards common ground should be facilitated by organizing interactive meetings among the researchers and the regulatory agencies.
  4. Focused programs for communicating science-based information in easy to understand language should be initiated by academics, industry, and experts from both the public and private sectors.
  5. Public-private partnerships should be encouraged to work in the areas of relevance to Asia-Pacific. Regional organizations such as APAARI should lead the development of network projects for smallholder farmers and consumers in the region.
  6. Regional collaborations and networks can also contribute to capacity building, communication strategies, policy development, and advocacy.

For more details, download the Proceedings and Recommendations from the APAARI website.

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