Plant breeders rejoice at Genetic Technology Bill progress

Legislation to unlock new technologies that can help to boost food production and support farmers to grow more productive crops will return to Parliament today. The British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) has welcomed this, especially DEFRA’s statement today suggesting that the bill is “paving the way for Britain to become the best place in the world to invest in agri-food research and innovation,” BSPB, CEO, Sam Brooke said,

“Our members bring some of the most innovative solutions to crop production and we have fought hard for them to be able to make the most these targeted and valuable new technologies. We welcome the positivity in DEFRA’s support of this and look forward to the bill being further progressed in the House of Lords before it is hopefully passed for royal assent.”

The third Reading of the Bill is scheduled for today (Monday 31 October) and is expected to be introduced in the House of Lords the following day. Ms Brooke has further welcomed the introduction of what DEFRA describes as a “more proportionate and science-based regulatory system for precision-bred plants and animals that will unlock opportunities to develop crops that are more resilient against disease and the effects of climate change such as drought and flooding, and less reliant on pesticides.”

Ms Brooke concludes:

“Since the European Court of Justice ruling of 2018 that inflicted the same restrictions on PBO’s as genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the BSPB has strived to demonstrate the scientific differences and benefits of using gene editing technology.  After almost five years it is a relief to see DEFRA’s stance on this and its support for technologies that are so valuable to the sustainability of crop and food production.”

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