Biotech Updates

UK’s Precision Breeding Bill Enters House of Lords

November 2, 2022

The United Kingdom Government's Precision Breeding (Gene Editing) Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons on October 31, 2022, and has been introduced to the House of Lords for debate.

The Bill was first introduced into Parliament on May 25, 2022, to cut red tape and support the development of innovative tech to grow more resistant, more nutritious, and more productive crops. UK scientists are optimistic that the Bill will unlock research opportunities to develop crops that are more resilient to diseases and climate change challenges while being less dependent on pesticides. Its progress into the House of Lords will help pave the way for gene editing to be used in crop improvement rather than just research.

The new legislation will allow plants developed through precision breeding technologies to be monitored through two notification systems. One will be for precision-bred organisms for research, and the other for marketing purposes. Likewise, the government is also taking a step-by-step approach in allowing precision breeding technologies with plants first to be followed with animals in order to safeguard animal welfare.

Some products in the UK's pipeline that are expected to benefit from the new Bill are climate-resilient wheat, non-browning banana, and disease-resistant chickens. If passed, the Bill will help establish a new science-based authorization process for these food and feed products.

For more information, read the press release from DEFRA and the statement from the John Innes Centre.

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