Gene editing is an opportunity not a cost

In light of the European Court of Justice’s ruling, requiring food produced using new and precise gene editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9 to go through an expensive and lengthy approval process, the Adam Smith Institute’s Head of Research Sam Dumitriu said:

“By ignoring scientific advice, the EU has shot itself in the foot. The ECJ’s decision will hold back science, innovation, and agriculture in Europe.

“Gene editing has the potential to increase crop yields, reduce pesticide use, and even improve animal welfare. It is safe and fundamentally different to past GM technology. Any crop developed through this process could have been developed through conventional breeding techniques. Gene editing merely speeds up the process.

“Forcing biotech firms to go through a lengthy, expensive approval process will create a huge barrier to entry: locking out innovative startups and creating monopolies. Many will move to the US to take advantage of a pro-science regulatory environment.

“While the ECJ allows the pseudo-scientific precautionary principle to dictate policy, the rest of the world will move forward. After Brexit, when we are out of the European Union, we should follow the US and not require special regulation on any agricultural product that could have been produced through conventional breeding.”

To arrange an interview or further comment please contact Matt Kilcoyne via phone (07584778207) or email (matt@adamsmith.org).