37 Nobel laureates and 1,500 researchers are calling for relaxation of EU gene editing regulations


As regulations on genetic technology are now to be reassessed in both Norway and the EU, researchers are hoping for a more scientific and evidence-based approach to the law.

Recently, 37 Nobel laureates and 1,500 researchers signed an open letter to the EU Parliament, where they requested less strict regularions for the use of genetic technology.

Researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy (NIBIO) also hope for a relaxation of the law to enable the use of CRISPR to address challenges in agriculture, food security, and climate.

They are already using CRISPR in projects involving the shelf life of apples and lettuce, removal of plant viruses, and the development of potato varieties that are less susceptible to blight.

However, [plant virus researcher at NIBIO Carl Jonas Jorge Spetz] believes it is equally important to develop plants with various biosensors – for example, plants that can detect high emissions of carbon dioxide.

“Through genetic technology, we might be able to stop using plastics. We can stop using minerals. We can have plants that can detect human viruses. Imagine having an oregano plant. When you feel sick one day, you take a leaf and bite into it. If it changes colour, you’re sick. There are countless things we could do if we were allowed,” says Spetz.