Review strict interpretation of genome editing in EU law, says CRG

Review strict interpretation of genome editing in EU law, says CRG

News from the CRG

The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) has signed an open letter alongside 125 life science centres around Europe calling for a review of last year’s European Court of Justice’s ruling on genome editing.

The ruling prevents the use of genome editing for sustainable agriculture and food production, making it substantially more difficult for Europe to face global challenges like food security, biodiversity and climate change.

The letter states that organisms that have undergone simple and targeted genome edits by means of precision breeding, and which do not contain foreign genes, are as safe as those derived from classical breeding techniques.

The signatories call for European authorities to quickly alter legislation so that organisms containing such edits fall under the regulatory regime that applies to classically bred varieties. In the longer term, they also call for the European GMO Directive to be thoroughly revised so that it correctly reflects scientific progress in biotechnology.

Revising European legislation concerning genome editing will harmonise it with the legal framework in other nations, enabling scientists to include genome editing as one of their tools to meet future global challenges.

Luis Serrano, Director of the Centre for Genomic Regulation, says: “We were disappointed with last year’s ECJ ruling, which effectively prohibited the use of advances in gene editing. It makes little sense to regulate genetic technologies on plants and animals based on the process itself, rather than of the trait introduced.”

“The formation of a new European Commission and election of a new European Parliament presents a new chance to revise this judgement, which was already at odds with the advice of the Advocate-General of the Court. It is important that regulation is effective without stifling the opportunities that technologies such as genome editing present.”


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