Italy eyes plant genome editing

Few days ago Italian ag scientists experimenting with CRISPR explained the technique’s revolutionary potential in a show broadcasted by national television (Presa Diretta, “Cibo geniale” – meaning “Ingenious Food” – by Lisa Iotti, Ra3, 7 Oct 2019).

CRISPR crops are finally coming into public attention in Italy, a country that has always fiercely opposed GMOs. A month ago Coldiretti, the most anti-GMOs farmers association, opened the door to genome editing, stating that transgenic plants are a thing of the past while the new breeding techniques are the future.

The new ag ministry Teresa Bellanova had just said that she was ready to reopen the GM debate with stakeholders, when Coldiretti’s President Ettore Prandini released his statements to the newspaper Avvenire. He invited the minister to find a way out of the regulatory impasse on genome editing in Brussels, rather than turning the GM controversy on again.

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