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Published: 20 Jun, 2018

Upcoming decisions concerning CRISPR-Cas9 at EU level are discussed in Nature

NEWS The question whether genetically edited plants, with new methods, shall be classified as GMOs by the European Commission is raised and discussed in the latest Nature - in the article "Europe's genetically edited plants stuck in legal limbo" and the editorial "Crop conundrum".

Text: Ingrid Söderbergh

New gene editing tools, such CRISPR-Cas9, can be used to create mutations that could have occurred naturally and without leaving traces of foreign genes in the plant. Work on these new technologies is important and need not necessarily be regulated in the same way as the previous generation of GM crops, Nature writes.

The EU should definitely determine whether the gene-editing plants of today are covered by the GMO legislation. Until then researchers, including Professor Stefan Jansson at Umeå University, are left frustrated by the delay in the decision on GMO regulations - which in reality means a ban on field experiments and future applications - apply to gene editing with high precision.

The European Commission's legal analysis is expected to be presented in March 2016. Subsequently, the qustion may perhaps proceed to the European Court of Justice.

The article is based on a press release from Umeå University and SLU and the reactions to it, which are listed on:

http://www.upsc.se/about-upsc/news/4815-green-light-in-the-tunnel-swedish-board-of-agriculture-a-crispr-cas9-mutant-but-not-a-gmo.html

Read more in Nature:

Nature: Europe’s genetically edited plants stuck in legal limbo

Nature Editorial: Crop conundrum

Editor: Ingrid Söderbergh