Court ruling could lock out the benefits of genome editing from Europe
Responding to today’s Court of Justice of the EU ruling on organisms obtained by mutagenesis (Case C-528/16), EuropaBio’s Secretary General John Brennan highlighted industry’s concerns about the judgement.
- The matter was referred to the CJEU by the French Conseil d’Etat after nine NGOs initiated a court case in France related to mutagenesis and the most recently developed mutagenesis methods. Such methods, which include certain applications of genome editing, help to develop innovative and sustainable solutions similar to those realised through conventional techniques, but with even greater accuracy and efficiency.
- Specifically, the court ruling was intended to clarify the scope of the mutagenesis exemption in the GMO Directive, which is essential for providing legal certainty and predictability.
- Genome editing is currently being applied in a broad range of projects, including:
- The development of crops to improve yields and reduce food waste;
- The design of therapeutic tools for recognising specific viral DNA and eradicating HIV proviruses;
- The production of bio-based chemicals to help provide renewable substitutes for many traditional petrochemical building blocks.
- Further potential fields of application include nutrient-enriched and stress-resilient crops that can help tackle malnutrition and cope with effects of climate change; the development and production of medical treatments and diagnostic agents that can improve and save millions of lives.
- The Court of Justice of the EU Ruling on Case C-528/16 and associated Press Release
- EuropaBio’s position paper “Achieving the potential of genome editing - the perspective of the European Biotech Industry”
- The European Commission’s Scientific Advisory Mechanism (SAM) published an explanatory note on New Techniques in Agricultural Biotechnology. It confirms that “the precision and control over changes made is greater than with the use of conventional breeding or established techniques of genetic modification. As a consequence, these new techniques result in fewer unintended effects”.
- The European Seed Association’s position paper “Plant Breeding Innovation: Applying the latest Plant Breeding Methods for the benefit of sustainable Agriculture, Consumers and Society”