CRISPR Brought Under GMO Rules By French Administrative Court
On Friday, the highest administrative court of France decided that strict testing should be done on plants produced using new gene-editing techniques like CRISPR.
The latest gene-editing techniques should fall under the strict regulations in place for testing genetically modified organisms (GMO), said the Conseil d’Etat.
The court gave the government nine months to ensure if the plants produced using the gene-editing techniques which had not been through the testing procedures are safe.
If CRISPR brought under GMO rules, it will result in the removal of those unsafe varieties from the catalog and the suspension of cultivation.
Though the first generation of genetically modified plants introduced foreign genes into plants, the latest technologies modify a plant’s own genes to get desired traits like higher yield or disease resistance.
The most commonly used gene-editing tool among researchers is the CRISPR/Cas9, informally known as molecular scissors.
The technique was a hit after it is widely used in medical research for developing new treatments. The popular controversy after a Chinese doctor tried to edit the genes in unborn babies to prevent them from contracting HIV made CRISPR more popular.
Certain environmental groups and farmers brought the case in 2015 over the french rule that excludes the new techniques from GMO testing requirements.
The European Court of Justice suggested to bring the new techniques under GMO rules after the Conseil d’Etat solicited for its advice.
Some farmers welcomed the decision while few other farmers groups called for an update to EU regulations as the new rule would chill innovation and the development of plants that can withstand climate change