Plant Genome Editing in Europe: A young researcher's perspective

In 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that plants obtained by genome editing techniques such as CRISPR should fall under the 2001 GMO Directive. This decision greatly hinders European agricultural innovation, as submitting plants for approval under the European GM legislation is very costly and time-consuming, making it prohibitive for genome-edited products to reach the market.

However, genome editing techniques have enormous potential to develop crop varieties that are more tolerant to climate change, resistant to diseases, or have better taste or nutritional profile. These potential benefits for farmers and consumers are currently completely inaccessible due to the European regulatory environment. The European Commission, in preparing the Green Deal and associated Farm to Fork Strategy, noted the transformative potential of agricultural innovation in achieving sustainability goals and has committed to carrying out a study evaluating the potential of New Genomic Techniques, expected in April 2021.

Join a dialogue between young plant scientists from Europe and overseas who will discuss their views on genome editing in their research context, as well as their views for the future of genome editing in Europe in light of the 2018 ECJ ruling and the currently ongoing Commission study on New Genomic techniques.  

This webinar is co-hosted by EuropaBio and the GeneSprout Initiative and will be moderated by Nikita Sajeev, GeneSprout Initiative.

Please note: this webinar will discuss genome editing in plants. This is also referred to as New Breeding Techniques (NBTs), New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) or New Genomic Techniques (NGTs).

About GeneSprout:

The GeneSprout Initiative was set up by young researchers at Wageningen University in the wake of the 2018 ECJ Ruling and has since expanded to several other universities in Belgium and the Netherlands. Their aim is to give young researchers a voice, particularly in political discussions where they are seldom represented, and to promote open science communication.

Find out more on their website.


  • Francesco Cappai, PhD student, University of Florida, USA
  • Juriaan Rienstra, PhD student, Wageningen University, Netherlands (Board member, GeneSprout initiative)
  • Yarin Aknin, PhD Student, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • Sjur Sandgrind, PhD student, Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences, Sweden
  • Nikita Sajeev, PhD Student, Wageningen University and GeneSprout Co-Founder (moderator)

Online Event