UK puts new gene editing rules into practice

New legislation will be put in place to cut unnecessary red tape for gene editing, helping our farmers to grow more resistant, nutritious and productive crops. The rule changes, will mean that scientists across England will be able to undertake plant-based research and development, using genetic technologies such as gene editing, more easily.

The rules will apply to plants where gene editing is used to create new varieties similar to those which could have been produced more slowly through traditional breeding processes and will unlock research opportunities to grow crops which are more nutritious, and which require less pesticide use.

The legislation being laid today is the first step towards adopting a more scientific and proportionate approach to the regulation of genetic technologies, which will allow us to further unlock innovation using these technologies. Harnessing the genetic resources that nature has provided through genetic technologies will create new opportunities for farmers to grow more resilient crops. This will support the development of new and innovative ways to protect the environment, such as significantly reducing, or eliminating the use of pesticides and herbicides – protecting pollinators. 

Minister for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaptation Jo Churchill said: "New genetic technologies could help us tackle some of the biggest challenges of our age – around food security, climate change and biodiversity loss."

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