England to ease gene editing laws for agriculture

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Scientists, however, are not exempted from the obligation to notify the Department for environment food and rural affairs (Defra) of any research trials…reports Asian Lite News.

Gene editing regulations in agricultural research would be eased in England as part of a plan to use post-Brexit freedoms to tackle problems related to farming and food security, the UK farming and environment minister, George Eustice, said on Wednesday.

George Eustice (Wikipedia)

“Gene editing has the ability to harness the genetic resources that nature has provided. It is a tool that could help us in order to tackle some of the biggest challenges that we face – around food security, climate change and biodiversity loss,” Eustice said.

The move, marks the first major shift away from European Union laws, which has prohibited gene editing along with genetically modified organisms for decades amid fears that it is unsafe.

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Scientists, however, are not exempted from the obligation to notify the Department for environment food and rural affairs (Defra) of any research trials.

It is reported that the government plans to continue taking steps towards relaxation of regulations in this area.

“The next step will be to review the regulatory definitions of a genetically modified organism, to exclude organisms produced by gene editing and other genetic technologies if they could have been developed by traditional breeding,” Defra announced on Wednesday.

The change just applies to England as agriculture is devolved within the United Kingdom and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own rules. (ANI/Sputnik)

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