European scientists must wait for the EC to carry out targeted consultations with Member States and EU-level stakeholders. Then the Commission study on new genomic techniques will be delivered by 30 April 2021. In the meantime, the United States has decided to relax the rules for biotech crops.
Science explains that a plant “won’t be regulated if it contains minor changes—a change to a pair of amino acid bases or a deletion of a chunk of DNA—that would create a trait that could have been made through traditional breeding. For example, molecular biologists can snip disease resistance genes from various parts of a plant’s genome and gather them into one stretch of DNA, allowing breeders to easily incorporate all the genes into one variety. The end product will be the same as what might be created by breeders, but gene editing can save years of effort”.
For a taste of exciting research in US labs, please visit the Pairwise Plants website. The company founded by gene-editing pioneers David Liu and Fend Zhang is editing fruits and veggies to make them taste better.