UK edges closer to embracing CRISPR gene edited crops, breaking further from the EU
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Research into the gene editing of plants in the UK will become much easier with new rules brought forward by the government that will encourage field trials and other development efforts.
Ministers said cutting red tape on gene editing research would help to develop new strains of crops that need less pesticide, have less environmental impact and provide better nutrition. The new rules, introduced in the form of a statutory instrument laid in parliament on [January 20], will apply only to research, rather than allowing gene-edited crops into widespread cultivation or consumption.
It is part of a gradual approach towards gene editing by the government, after public consultation last year. The preferred direction of travel is clear, however, with ministers having repeatedly voiced support for gene editing and genetic modification as aids to modernising farming.
Jo Churchill, the minister for agri-innovation and climate adaptation, said: “New genetic technologies could help us tackle some of the biggest challenges of our age, around food security, climate change and biodiversity loss. Now we have the freedom and opportunity to foster innovation, to improve the environment, and help us grow plants that are stronger and more resilient to climate change.”
BY Fiona Harvey | Guardian
Photo Credit: BioTechniques