German Academies call for new GM rules

Picture: Sisters of Design

The following is an excerpt from the news section of the Leopoldina website. Please note that DFG stands for the German research funding organization.

The Leopoldina, the Union of German Academies and the DFG have drafted recommendations for ensuring science-based regulation of genome edited plants in the EU. These recommendations include the amendment of European genetic engineering legislation.

As a short-term measure, the definition of GMOs should be revised so that genome edited organisms are no longer considered GMOs ‒ analogous to plants modified with conventional breeding methods – unless they contain genetic information, which is foreign to the species. Likewise, combinations of genetic information which could also occur in nature or via conventional breeding methods should not be included in the classification of a GMO.

However, the statement says that the only viable long-term solution would be to establish a completely new legal framework. In assessing the risks involved for humanity and the environment, the new framework should not focus on the processes in which new plant varieties are created, but rather on their new traits. Furthermore, the science academies and the DFG are calling for the facilitation of field trials.

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