USDA criticizes European ruling on genome editing -

USDA criticizes European ruling on genome editing

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USDA criticizes European ruling on genome editing

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has criticized the European Court of Justice's (ECJ) recent ruling that the relatively new technique of genome editing counts as genetic engineering.

Gene editing, a relatively new method involving the precise replacement of one DNA sequence with another, has until now been a grey area. 

Traditional genetic engineering involves the less precise insertion of foreign DNA into an organism.

"Government policies should encourage scientific innovation without creating unnecessary barriers or unjustifiably stigmatizing new technologies," Perdue said.

"Unfortunately, this week’s ECJ ruling is a setback in this regard in that it narrowly considers newer genome editing methods to be within the scope of the European Union’s regressive and outdated regulations governing genetically modified organisms."

He said the USDA encourages the EU  to seek input from the scientific and agricultural communities, as well as its trading partners, in determining the appropriate implementation of the ruling.

"Innovations in precision biotechnology, such as genome editing, hold great promise. For consumers, potential benefits include healthier, higher-quality foods at affordable prices. For farmers, they include improvements in productivity, plant and animal health, and environmental sustainability," he said.

"The global regulatory treatment of genome-edited agricultural products has strategic innovation and trade implications for U.S. agriculture.

"For this reason, USDA has clear science- and risk-based policies that enable needed innovation while continuing to ensure these products are safe. In light of the ECJ ruling, USDA will re-double its efforts to work with partners globally towards science- and risk-based regulatory approaches."

Photo: YouTube

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