USA and plant breeding innovation: USDA will not regulate some genome edited plants

Secretary Perdue Issues USDA Statement on Plant Breeding Innovation. Washington, D.C., March 28, 2018. Press Release No. 0070.18,  Contact: USDA Press, Email: press@oc.usda.gov

Yesterday, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a statement in favour of Plant Breeding Innovation. In the US, the USDA will not regulate genome-edited plants (obtained, for example, through CRISPR tools), as long as they are not pest plants or developed using plant pests, and as long as the resulting genetic alleles could have been also introduced by any traditional breeding technique. In other words, if the CRISPR-derived allele matches an allele previously existing in nature the resulting genome edited plants will not be regulated by USDA. This decision is expected to favour Plant Breeders and researchers in the field of Plant Breeding innovation and is also expected to expedite the development of numerous genome edited plants resistant to drought and diseases or with increased nutritional value.

In Europe some hints towards a similar direction have been seen last January, with the publication of an Opinion by the EU lawyer of the Court of Justice of the European Union on a recent dispute ongoing in France. However, to date, the European Commission, through the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) has not yet issued a final decision on the subject.

 

The ARRIGE initiative featured in Science magazine

Image from istock.com illustrating the article by Martin Enserink in Science magazine on the ARRIGE initiative

Science magazine is featuring the ARRIGE initiative in an interesting article by Martin Enserink. The journalist talked to Hervé Chneiweiss, Peter Mills and Lluís Montoliu on the past Friday ARRIGE kick-off meeting in Paris, and also contacted Sheila Jassanoff, who had presented a similar global proposal for genome editing governance in another article published in Nature last week.

Taking seriously the anthropological and societal impact of genome editing technologies

Mylène Botbol-Baum, INSERM Ethics Committee and Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

The ethicist Mylène Botbol-Baum, from the Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium, and member of the INSERM Ethics Committee, delivered an interesting lecture at the recent ARRIGE kick-off meeting in Paris. Her talk was on ‘Taking seriously the anthropological and societal impact of genome editing technologies’ where she presented several aspects on the conversation of genome editing with the Society. She referred to the common use of metaphores and the conflict of narratives when trying to communicate these scientific advances.

Ewa Bartnik reviewed at the ARRIGE kick-off meeting in Paris the many current reports already published on the Ethics issues and global governance of genome editing

Ewa Bartnik, University of Warsaw, Poland. Former rapporteur UNESCO ICB

Ewa Bartnik (University of Warsaw, Poland) reviewed the multiple reports and documents already published on the subject, with positions from other groups, agencies, societies, associations, councils and governmental bodies on the associated Ethics aspects of genome editing technologies and their impact in human beings, animals, plants and the environment. At the ARRIGE kick-off meeting in Paris, Ewa Bartnik updated her previous presentation on this matter which she had nicely prepared for the November 2017 meeting in Paris too.