New Genetic Engineering Techniques

New Genetic Engineering Techniques section

New developments in genetic engineering raise questions about which crops, trees and animals will be treated as genetically modified (GM) for the purposes of regulation.

Industry and investors are seeking to exempt all new genetic engineering techniques (often referred to as "gene editing") from regulation, but civil society groups have major concerns about this. Techniques which are exempt from regulation will not require risk assessments to predict the consequences for the environment, animal welfare, or human health, and such products would be unlabelled.

"Gene editing" and other new genetic engineering techniques could be used in the future for open releases into the environment of crops, trees, farm animals, fish or insects.

The UK Government has proposed deregulating genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in England that are produced using gene editing techniques. They have launched a consultation here (deadline 17th March 2021).

Gene editing can also be used to construct 'gene drives', which aim to spread genetically modified genes across wild populations faster than the normal ruls of inheritance allow (see also GM insects). Find out about the scientific, ethical, socio-economic and regulatory aspects of gene drives here.


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