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Gene-editing of plants – GM through the back door?

Publication - December 3, 2015
POLICY BRIEFING - Gene-editing techniques may be more precise than ‘traditional’ genetic engineering in their positioning of the intended alteration to genetic material. However, the newly created organisms can still display unexpected and unpredictable effects, which can have implications for food, feed or environmental safety.

If these new techniques were to be exempted from the EU’s regulations for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), there would be no requirement to detect and assess such unintended changes or to assess any potential negative safety effects. Also, there would be no requirement to make the products traceable and label them as GMOs. The GMO regulations in the EU must be interpreted in their intended sense, to encompass all modern biotechnological processes that directly modify genomes. Otherwise, the EU would be failing its citizens.

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