UK announces simplified rules for gene editing in plants

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced that new legislation would be put in place to ‘cut unnecessary red tape for gene editing’ in plants. The new rules are intended to facilitate the use of genetic technologies such as gene editing in plant-related research and development, and pave the way towards ‘a more scientific and proportionate approach to the regulation of genetic technologies’. Announcing the move, Minister for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaptation Jo Churchill said that new genetic technologies could help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, such as food security, climate change, and biodiversity loss. Gene edited plans would be classified as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and food products derived from them would need to be authorised. But the new rules will allow scientists to assess new crops in real-world conditions more easily.