Biotech Updates

Spain’s CRAG Supports Updating of Regulations to Allow Genome Editing in Europe

April 26, 2023

The Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) in Barcelona, Spain released a statement reiterating the center's position to modify the outdated guidelines as a response to the European Commission's open initiative to modify current regulations on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and adapt new products derived through genome editing.

In their statement, CRAG reaffirms the following:

  • Genetic improvement has always used all the scientific and technical knowledge available, throughout history. Thanks to this, humanity currently has a quantity and diversity of food like never before.
  • Gene editing is a technique with great potential, particularly for the genetic improvement of plants.
  • CRAG agrees with the scientific community and EU authorities that the current legislative framework is not adequate for these new technologies.
  • CRAG believes that the new legislation should allow for the benefits that these techniques allow while ensuring a high degree of safety of the products obtained.

CRAG also emphasized that the current GM regulations imposed by the EU make it impossible for small producers to compete with large multinational companies who can afford the cost of risk analyses required for GMOs. It is estimated that under the current regulations, it takes 10-15 years and 10-16 million Euros to comply to regulatory requirements to bring modern biotechnology products into the market. Furthermore, the regulations that were drafted in 2001 can no longer keep up with the revolutionary advances of modern genetic breeding programs.

The European Commission has been tasked to draft a legislative proposal to update the regulations and allow genome editing applications in the region. The proposal is expected to be made public in June, wherein debates between EU member states and political groups in the European Parliament are also set to begin.

Read the full statement by CRAG to know more.

You might also like: