UK Government Sends Precision Breeding Bill to Parliament; JIC Welcomes MoveJune 1, 2022
On May 25, 2022, the Government of the United Kingdom introduced a bill to the Parliament to cut red tape and support the development of innovative tech to grow more resistant, more nutritious, and more productive crops.
The new legislation, the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill will remove unnecessary barriers to research into new gene editing technology. The Bill is set to enable the development and marketing of precision-bred plants and animals which will drive economic growth and attract investment into agri-food research and innovation in the UK. The government's press release states that precision breeding technologies, such as gene editing, will give UK scientists the power to help farmers and producers develop plant varieties and animals with beneficial traits that could also occur through traditional breeding and natural processes, but in a more efficient and precise way.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said, "Outside the EU we are free to follow the science. These precision technologies allow us to speed up the breeding of plants that have natural resistance to diseases and better use of soil nutrients so we can have higher yields with fewer pesticides and fertilizers."
In a separate press release, the John Innes Centre (JIC) welcome the legislation. JIC Director Professor Dale Sanders FRS, said, "I'm pleased that the Government is introducing new routes to bring gene-edited crops to market. This is a genuine opportunity to accelerate access to some innovations that are essential for both human health and for the environment."
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