Europe Current Guidance Appropriate for Assessment of Genome Editing in Plants

Posted By: Trace One

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On November 24, 2020, the European Food Safety Authority proposed the “Guidance appropriate for assessment of Genome editing in Plants.” The scientific opinion focuses on plants produced using different genome editing techniques.

The guidance document outlines the following techniques highlighted by the experts as below:

  • Site-directed nuclease-1 (SDN-1), site-directed nuclease-2 techniques (SDN-2) and oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis (ODM) differ from site-directed nucleases-3 (SDN-3), which was assessed by EFSA in 2012, because they modify a specific region of the genome without introducing new DNA.
  • Risk assessment of genetically modified plants is applicable for the evaluation of the three new techniques. However, fewer data for the risk assessment might be needed due to the absence of new DNA.
  • Genome editing changes the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with high precision.
  • The technology has a wide range of applications – from new therapies for cancer and inherited diseases, to increasing the muscle mass of livestock.
  • It can also be used to produce plants with desired traits, such as disease resistance, drought tolerance, or enhanced nutritional profiles. However, there is a societal concern genome editing may lead to adverse effects to human health and the environment.
  • Currently, in the EU genome edited organisms are required to undergo a safety assessment according to the provisions laid down in the GMO legislation before being authorised.

EFSA issued the guidelines for the risk assessment of genetically modified plants produced with ODM, SDN-1 and SDN-2. The scientific team concluded that the technique that modifies the DNA of plant do not pose more hazard in conventional breeding or techniques that introduce new DNA into a plant.

To view the EFSA Assessment report, Check out the Food News Monitoring System.