Leading scientists from across Europe have written a position paper questioning a recent European Court of Justice ruling which forbids the use of certain modern genome editing techniques.
We are hindered by an outdated regulatory framework
The scientists, representing more than 85 European plant and life sciences research centres and institutes say that the ruling - state that forbidding breeding techniques such as mutagenesis and CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) are not permitted - “will hinder” scientific progress.
They’ve pointed to the recent drought situation and stated that exploration into new breeding techniques is needed to improve crops and make them more resilient.
The group has requested that certain small-scale investigations be permitted.
“The support we received for this initiative from plant scientists all over Europe has been overwhelming from the start,” Dirk Inzé, scientific director at VIB and one of the initiators of the position paper said.
“To me, it clearly illustrates the current dichotomy in Europe: as European leaders in the field of plant sciences we are committed to bringing innovative and sustainable solutions to agriculture, but we are hindered by an outdated regulatory framework that is not in line with recent scientific evidence.
“With this mission statement we hope to promote evidence-informed policymaking in the EU, which is of crucial importance to us all.”