England launches plan to ease crop gene editing regulation post-Brexit

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England’s farming and environment minister George Eustice said on Thursday he was launching a public consultation on gene editing of crops, with the prospect the technology will the regulated less stringently than genetic modification.

The European Court of Justice ruled in July 2018 that mutagenesis-based gene-editing methods such as CRISPR/Cas9, which can rearrange targeted bits of DNA, fall under rules that now apply to genetic modification via strands of DNA from a different species.

Britain opposed the verdict, which was widely condemned by biotech and chemical industry associations, as well as academic scientists, but drew praise from some environmental and consumer rights groups.

“As an EU member we obviously had no choice but to slavishly adopt and accept the judgments of the ECJ, however irrational and flawed they might be,” Eustice told the Oxford Farming Conference.

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Reuters, 7 January 2021
; https://www.reuters.com/article/britain-farming-genes/england-launches-plan-to-ease-crop-gene-editing-regulation-post-brexit-idUSL1N2JI0RK