CRISPR crops & Italy elections

Nature Italy is a digital magazine published by Springer Nature, focused on scientific research and science policies in Italy. On 25 September the country goes to the polls, so Marta Paterlini, Fabio Turone and Nicola Nosengo asked some of the major parties about their proposals on climate, science, and health. Unfortunately the right wing Fratelli d’Italia, leading in opinion polls, and its ally, Forza Italia, didn’t respond. Below are the other parties answers about new genomic techniques in agriculture (in Italy they are sometimes called “assisted-evolution technologies”). In brief M5S and UP are quite elusive, while the others are in favor with different nuances.

Are you in favour of experimenting, and eventually applying, new assisted-evolution technologies in agriculture?

Democratic Party (PD): We are for decarbonizing agriculture. In this context, assisted evolution can allow us to develop varieties more resistant to diseases and to climate change.

Five Star movement (M5S): We want to focus on precision agriculture and digital technologies that allow companies to increase the yield and quality of production, using less energy, water, plant protection products as well as fertilisers.

Azione/Italia Viva (A/IV): We are positive about New Breeding Techniques. There is therefore an urgent need for legislation that allows field testing of genotypes obtained with NBTs.

+EUROPA: We are in favour of the possibility of growing GMOs and of enhancing the production through CRISPR, and we want to invest in research on new genomic techniques.

Popular Union (UP): We propose a reform under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), by cutting subsidies for intensive farming and supporting farms that use ecological methods with an eye on biodiversity. PNRR funds should be used to facilitate the transition towards a plant-based diet. The production and use of glyphosate and other products that are harmful to bees and other pollinators should be banned.

LEGA: Unlike old GMOs, the New Breeding Techniques introduce specific genetic improvements without altering biodiversity and are compatible with our agricultural model. Our idea is to create an Italian chain of research, development and application of new technologies in agriculture.

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