Biotech Updates

UK's Precision Breeding Bill Now an Act of Parliament

March 29, 2023

On March 23, 2023, the UK's Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament and law. The Act is a major step in unlocking growth and innovation in new technologies, reinforcing food security in the face of climate change, and ensuring that England becomes a world leader in agri-food innovation.

The Precision Breeding Act covers precision-bred plants and animals developed through techniques such as gene editing, which is different from genetic modification. Under the Act, a new science-based and streamlined regulatory system will be introduced to facilitate greater research and innovation in precision breeding while maintaining stricter regulations for genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The government will take a step-by-step approach and enable precision breeding technologies for plants first, followed by animals later.

The Act has the powers to:

  • Remove plants and animals produced through precision breeding technologies from regulatory requirements applicable in England to the environmental release and marketing of GMOs.
  • Introduce two notification systems; one for precision-bred organisms used for research purposes and the other for marketing purposes. The information collected will be published on a public register on GOV.UK.
  • Establish a proportionate regulatory system for precision-bred animals to ensure animal welfare is safeguarded. Changes to the regulations for animals will not be introduced until this system is in place.
  • Establish a new science-based authorization process for food and feed products derived from using precision-bred plants and animals.

For more details about the Precision Breeding Act, read the press release in GOV.UK.

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