The UK’s groundbreaking Precision Breeding Bill and the anticipated changes in the EU regulations for gene-edited crops have set the stage for a transformative era in agriculture. Industry heavyweights share their insights into the ever-evolving regulatory landscape surrounding gene-edited crops and its implications for the agricultural community.

Wendy Srnic, CORTEVA

“New precision breeding technologies such as New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) will be essential in helping meet the objectives of the European Green Deal, including supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the continued transition to more sustainable agriculture with fewer inputs.
In the EU, plants obtained by NGTs are currently subject to the same rules as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The Proposal on New Genomic Techniques creates two distinct pathways for NGT plants to be placed on the market. While much depends on further discussions and implementation, at least it has the potential to create a more enabling regulatory environment, with the level of regulation more proportionate to the risk and more aligned with plant breeding.

Farmers need access to a full suite of technologies—including NGTs—to drive innovation in crop production. Not only can new breeding techniques such as NGTs address hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity, they can do so while producing more resilient crops that use less water, nutrients and land. This is even more important in the context of climate change, geopolitical instability, population growth and changing consumer habits.” Wendy Srnic, VP of Biotechnology, CORTEVA AGRISCIENCE

Gilad Gershon, TROPIC

“Recent progress in the treatment of gene edited crops as non-GM in the UK puts it in line with other regulators such as in the USA, China, India, and Japan, and supports a broader available market for products developed by companies like Tropic that build on the outstanding British Innovation infrastructure. The UK is a regional pioneer in this sense, and we already see the EU following in its footsteps to establish similar regulatory frameworks.

The favourable evolution in regulatory frameworks, coupled with cutting edge innovation pioneered by British companies, is bearing fruit. At Tropic we see a continuous increase in our products across the value chain. Climate change is drastically challenging our food production systems, people recognize gene-editing as an efficient and cost effective tool to develop sustainable solutions to help feed our growing populations.” Gilad Gershon, CEO, TROPIC BIOSCIENCES

Bob Reiter - Bayer Crop Science - Virtual World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit
Bob Reiter, BAYER

“New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) along with other innovative plant breeding methods present enormous potential for agriculture, further contributing to food security, adaptability to climate change and reduced environmental impact. The UK has taken an important and welcome first step towards an enabling environment for genetic technology with the legislation passed earlier this year, however, details of the secondary legislation, now being developed, will be key to determining how competitive the UK is as a location for R&D. In the same way, it is encouraging that the European Commission enters a path towards a more innovation-friendly environment for plant breeding, a significant step in the right direction to facilitate R&D activities of genome-edited plants in the EU.

Given ongoing development of the secondary legislation in the UK and the early stage of the European Commission’s legislative proposal, it’s too soon to say what the specific opportunities may be. Genome editing is a very important and promising technology, able to advance plant breeding in terms of the traits that can be developed and the speed of delivery. Bayer has a strong partnership approach to genome editing with existing collaborations including Pairwise and is a majority shareholder of CoverCress. More innovation-friendly regulations are positive for collaboration and investment in this space.”
Bob Reiter, Head of R&D, Crop Science, BAYER

Todd Rands, ELO

“Delivering accessible, high-quality and affordable nutrition on a global scale, while requiring less from our planet, is only achievable if governments collectively foster breakthrough innovations as the UK has done with its new Genetic Technology Act. While this is a tremendous first step, we continue to advocate for a broader regulatory framework in the UK and throughout Europe that creates space for other new technologies, so we can reimagine a healthier and more sustainable food system in the very near future.” Todd Rands, President & CEO, ELO

 

Want to talk with biotech-focused corporates, investors and innovators? Join Wendy, Gilad, Todd and over 900 professionals to exchange insights, be inspired, and identify future partners at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit on September 26-27 in London.