Gene Editing

Background

The Plant ETP supports research and innovation in Plant Breeding to provide safe and nutritious food for all. The Plant ETP believes that the safety of a product should not be solely determined by the method used to develop it. 

Gene editing (GE) is a relatively new breeding technique that enables targeted mutagenesis of a plant's genome. It can significantly reduce the time needed to breed new varieties for the market, thereby enabling breeders to respond more efficiently to demand. In the context of a growing population and increasingly volatile weather conditions due to climate change, farmers need access to a wide range of crop varieties that are resilient to changing weather conditions and provide yield stability over multiple years.

The Plant ETP and its members firmly believe that new breeding techniques, such as GE, can provide significant benefits for society as a whole, particularly for the environment, and is a critical enabler of EU welfare in a transition to a fossil-free economy. We believe that the safe use of all innovative techniques at our disposal is necessary to meaningfully contribute to achieving the goals of the EU Green Deal and the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.

Working Group on Gene Editing (WG GE)

The WG GE is made up of experts from academia, industry and the farming community. It was started in Autumn 2019 and aims to highlight the potential of GE technology for European Plant Breeding and the Green Deal goals, determine the repercussions of the ECJ ruling (case C-528/16) to regulate GE as GMO, as well as increase acceptance of this technology.

The WG GE is Chaired by Marc Cornelissen, Head of Seeds & Traits at BASF and Chair of the Plant ETP Board of Directors.

The WG GE members have also contributed to the 'Stakeholder consultation on new genomic techniques' to contribute to the Commission study requested by the EU Council.

They have also contributed to the Plant ETP Opinion on the French Decree proposal to regulate plant varieties developed through in vitro random mutagenesis as GMO.