Breeding, Cultivation/Production, Europe, UK, Ireland, GMO, Research

New Act enables scientists to improve crops in England

With the recent Precision Breeding Act passed, England now has the opportunity to capitalise on its world-leading research base in plant sciences and make agriculture more sustainable.

Scientists at The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL), a plant and microbial research institute in Norwich, welcome the new Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act. Under the provisions of this Act, a new regulatory system will be introduced in England for the regulation of precision-bred plants and animals developed through techniques such as gene editing, where the genetic changes could have occurred naturally or through traditional breeding methods.

Gene editing allows precise mutations to be made in plant genes much more quickly than other conventional plant breeding methods.

Prof. Jonathan Jones FRS, Group Leader at The Sainsbury Laboratory who developed a GM fully late blight resistant PiperPlus potato, says “After many decades researching the science that can make our crops resistant to disease and less reliant on fungicides, I am delighted to finally see changes in legislation that will allow some of these innovations to be applied in the field and benefit our farmers and the environment.”

He adds, “While I would’ve hoped to see the same proportionate regulations also apply to other, more established, plant breeding technologies such as GM, I think enabling gene editing for crop improvement is a step in the right direction.”

Source: The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL). Full news release here
Image: TSL | LinkedIn

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