Crop Biotech Update

UK to Bring Forward a Genetic Technology Bill for Sustainable Agriculture

May 11, 2022

The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) welcomed the announcement that the UK Government will bring forward new primary legislation, The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill. This Bill will ease the application of particular precision breeding techniques that will not need to go through the restrictive rules for genetically modified crops since the resulting plants could have been a product of natural selection or conventional breeding.

According to NIAB chief executive Professor Mario Caccamo, the announcement indicates progress towards a more science-based and proportionate regulation of precision breeding, which levels up the UK plant science and the development of more sustainable farming systems.

“The Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill announced today will provide a more straightforward route to market for seeds and crops developed using advanced breeding technologies such as gene editing. It sends a clear signal that Britain is adopting a more pro-innovation approach outside the EU, bringing our rules into line with other countries such as Japan, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia, and opening up much greater potential for inward investment and international research collaboration given the UK's strengths in genetic science…Innovation in plant breeding will be the single most important factor in helping global food supplies keep pace with a growing world population, in the face of climate change and pressure on finite natural resources of land, water, energy and biodiversity,” Prof. Caccamo explained.

Read the press release from NIAB.

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