Crop Biotech Update

NIAB Lauds UK Parliamentary Approval of New Gene Editing Rules

March 23, 2022

The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) of the UK has welcomed the approval by both Houses of Parliament of a Statutory Instrument that will facilitate easier execution of field testing of plants developed through new genetic technologies such as gene editing.

According to NIAB chief executive, Prof. Mario Caccamo, gene editing offers a potentially transformative tool in plant research that allows similar changes done through conventional breeding, but in a much more precise and efficient manner.

“This Statutory Instrument marks a small but important step towards aligning our regulations with other parts of the world – such as Australia, Canada, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, and the US – where simple gene-edited plants are not regulated as GMOs,” Prof. Caccamo said. The Statutory Instrument cleared its last hurdle in the House of Lords on March 14, 2022, as it was approved by a clear majority in the Commons.

“Adopting a more science-based and proportionate regulatory approach will help unlock the UK's global leadership in plant genetics, fostering a research environment that encourages innovation in agriculture to address the most pressing challenges of today - helping farmers grow crops that are more nutritious, more resilient to climate change and less reliant on pesticides or fertilizers,” he added.

Read the news article from NIAB.

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