Thursday, October 29, 2015

European Commission to Rule on GM Status of New Breeding Techniques

Written by Tyler R. Etter

On October 22, 2015, the European Commission held a discussion on new techniques of crop breeding
that do not utilize the genes of different species unlike current genetic modification (GM). The delegates
agreed that clarification is needed on the legal framework of these techniques. Proponents aim for the
techniques to fall outside of GM classification, to further encourage and facilitate agricultural research
and innovation in Europe.

The discussed techniques included cisgenesis, intragenesis, and grafting. Cisgenesis has been deemed to
be closer to conventional breeding by the European Food Safety Authority. However, the European
Union (EU) currently holds the technique under the scope of existing legislation on GM.

The German delegation raised concerns about the potential effects of the interpretation of the EU GM
laws, spanning across concerns for research, development and production of medicines and vaccines,
competitive ability, the adoption of new techniques, and trade. Germany highlighted the potential need
for new systems to detect such modifications, and the need for health assessments on the safety of the
created products.

In response, Health and Consumers Commissioner Vytenis Andriukatis stated that an assessment is
underway, and is anticipated to conclude by the end of 2015.

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