Genome Editing: An important tool to support sustainable agriculture
Our interview partner, Dr. Anja Matzk, Head of Regulatory Affairs at KWS Saat SE & Co. KGaA, points out what impact the EU Commission's proposal for regulation on genome editing, announced for July, will have on the competitiveness of European plant breeding companies. KWS Saat's position is that genome-edited plants that could also be developed with conventional breeding should no longer be classified as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Dr. Anja Matzk explains that the current legislative framework on genome editing entails high financial hurdles and long time delays and could lead to the loss of the European Union's competitiveness in this sector. Without the high regulatory hurdles, small and medium-sized enterprises would also be more likely to use genome editing.
The regulation of genome editing on a global scale is also very different. There are already genome-edited products on the market, for example a soybean with a better fatty acid profile in the USA, and research is currently being conducted on many other crops. The focus is on supporting sustainability and health promotion.
With the PILTON project, a research project was launched using the specific example of fungal tolerance in wheat in order to gather our own experience with the use of genome editing and to influence changes in the legal framework.