Researchers recommend uniform regulation to effectively use new breeding technologies

Guidelines for gene editing being finalized in India

image credit: www.icrisat.org/

image credit: www.icrisat.org/

The fourth and fifth webinars of One CGIAR Global Webinar Series on 'Genome Editing in Agriculture' saw the coming of researchers and policy specialists from across the world who called for a uniform enabling regulation to use new breeding technologies (NBTs) effectively.

Dr Donald Mackenzie, Executive Director at the Institute for International Crop Improvement at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, US, said that all plant breeding methods can cause unintended effects, some with a higher likelihood than others, but there is no hazard that is unique to methods that move genes between unrelated organisms. “The assessment of risks should be based on the product and not the method by which it is produced,” he said, referring to Canada, which was the first country where regulation was  implemented by the nature of the product.

Citing India, Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), spoke about how research from public sector research systems reaches the farmers in India. “The Indian breeding system is elaborate and more than 50 different crops important for agriculture are handled. The best material from both private and public sector is compared and then gets notified in the Indian system,” he said.

 Mohapatra also informed that the guidelines for gene editing are being finalized in India. In the context of Public-Private engagement, he said that there is scope for public and private institutes, including small and medium enterprises, to collaborate in using new breeding technologies, as they have been doing thus far with existing technologies.

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