Biotech Updates

First Sowing of Genetically Edited Camelina at Rothamsted Research under New UK Regulations

June 1, 2022

Rothamsted Research has sown seeds of genetically edited Camelina sativa weeks after regulations for scientific field trials in the United Kingdom were eased, which allows researchers much more freedom to plan and conduct field experiments.

Farm staff prepared and seeded the plots in just a few hours, but the big difference was the time saved in applying for permission to conduct the trial. Under previous UK regulations, trial sites had to be specifically identified and DEFRA's approval is needed following a detailed application procedure. Now, under the government's new Qualifying Higher Plant (QHP) status, which is the post-EU non-GM classification for genetically edited crops, plants can be sown anywhere on Rothamsted's farm. For this trial, the approval process for QHP status took just a few minutes as opposed to the months required under the older pre-Brexit regulations which lumped genetically modified and genetically edited crops together.

Professor Johnathan Napier, who is leading Rothamsted's research into genetically altered Camelina plants that can produce long chain omega-3 oils said, “The new regulations make it significantly easier to carry out research trials and we are very pleased to be able to take immediate advantage of this. I am excited by the opportunities that the new QHP status will bring in terms of reduced regulatory burden and in advancing our research and development of oilseeds with improved nutrition and higher yield.”

For more details, read the news article on the Rothamsted Research website.

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