New GM techniques
The legal status of a number of different genetic engineering techniques, including gene editing, is being debated around the world.
Why does it matter?
GM is subject regulation all over the world. In Europe, GM food and crops are traceable and labelled. That could all change if a group of so-called “new plant breeding techniques” escape legal classification as GM.
Proponents claim these new techniques shouldn’t “count” as GM because they are more precise and don’t usually add genes from other species. However, they do involve changing the genome in the lab in ways we are only just beginning to understand.
These new genetic engineering techniques have no history of safe use and must be subject to proper regulation because:
- Precision is not the same as predictability. All of these techniques can give rise to unexpected effects.
- Any problems that do occur will be incredibly difficult to put right as genetic pollution cannot be “mopped up”.
- Many of these techniques are so new that very little is known about how they work and what could go wrong.
- Any crops they produce will be patented, handing more control from farmers to big biotech companies.
GM Freeze believes that these techniques cannot currently help create a world in which our food is produced responsibly, fairly and sustainably.
All genetic engineering techniques must be subject to proper regulation and traceability, whatever name you give them.
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