Biotech Updates

APEC Members Discuss Genome Editing Technology and Policy Strategies

July 1, 2021

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ISAAA, United States Department of State, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) completed the second part of the APEC High-Level Policy Dialogue on Agricultural Biotechnology on June 29-30, 2021. The activity was attended by 14 economy members and focused on genome editing and the readiness of economy members for the technology and its products to enter the market.

The activity was divided into two days, with the first day focusing on genome editing technology and the policies that regulate it. Dr. Carl Ramage, Managing Director of Rautaki Solutions Pty. Ltd. and the Chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee of La Trobe University in Melbourne Australia provided the background of the science and potential of genome editing. This was followed by a presentation on the policy considerations for genome editing products highlighting the elements of science-based policies and how these policies play a role in the development and commercialization of genome-edited products by Dr. Szobolcs Ruthner of the International Seed Federation in Switzerland. Thereafter, three representatives from Chile, the Philippines, and the United States discussed their respective economy's policy approaches and regulatory considerations for different genome editing products. They also talked about the approaches that their economies incorporated into the national regulatory frameworks to prepare themselves for the adoption and use of the technology.

The second day concentrated on the market-readiness of the economies for genome-edited products. Case studies were presented by Dr. Alexandre Nepomuceno of the National Soybean Research Center, Brazilian Agricultural Research Center of Brazil, and Prof. Martin Lema, former Chair of the Biosafety Committee of Argentina and Adjunct Professor in the University of Quilmes. Their presentations were intended for the audience to understand the policy approaches used by the two economies that helped facilitate the commercialization of genome-edited products, as well as highlight the agricultural biotechnology frameworks implemented in order to avoid policy incompatibilities among neighboring economies. These presentations were followed by case studies of Argentina and the Asian Region on the policy approaches used by their economies that helped facilitate economic opportunities and better investment in research and development innovation by Prof. Lema and Dr. Gabriel Romero of the Philippine Seed Industry Association, respectively. The second day concluded with individual economy reports on the state of genome editing policies, and the member representatives' impressions on and takeaways from the workshop.

ISAAA Global Coordinator Dr. Mahaletchumy Arujanan and ISAAA SEAsiaCenter Director Dr. Rhodora Romero-Aldemita along with Dr. Gabriel Romero served as moderators during the event.

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