Speciality crops to test appetite for gene editing

Speciality crops to test appetite for gene editing

The conflicting regulatory standing between the EU and the US has created a bifurcated market for funding gene-editing technologies in agriculture. The current landscape sees a wide array of companies in the US looking to test and deploy these technologies across row crops, as well as growing investment in specialty production systems. Given the regulatory context, industry players are likely to keep the focus on the Americas for now. Still, there are potential avenues of opportunity and preemptive positions that could be taken in the European market too.

Three Types of Regulatory Systems Globally

Gene-editing technology, especially CRISPR, offers the possibility to design a plant without introducing foreign genes, reducing some of the controversy associated with earlier genetically modified organisms (GMOs). (Read more about the impacts of the technology on food and agriculture in Rabobank’s report Gene-editing Technology To Disrupt Food & Agri Systems, and about the difference between gene editing and GMOs in Gene editing in the G&O sector). Foreseeing the enormous impacts gene editing can bring to the current F&A system, countries have formulated their own regulations accordingly. Around the world today there are three types of regulations for gene-edited crops (most countries have different views on gene editing for animals). These approaches are:

1. Treat gene-edited products as conventional products, with a “product”-based evaluation method, as in the US, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Japan, for example.
2. Treat gene-edited products as conventional products with a “process”-based evaluation method, an approach taken in Australia, China, and Brazil.
3. Treat gene-edited products as GMO products, as in the EU (excluding the UK, which is formulating new regulations post-Brexit), Mexico, and New Zealand.

A product-based approach looks at the product itself when regulating, while a process-based approach considers how the product was created. 

Continue reading.

Image by DCStudio on Freepik



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