Gene editing is not “precision breeding”, international scientists declare
Published: October 4, 2022
Category: GMO News, The Non-GMO Blog
International scientists and policy experts have presented a statement opposing the use of the term “precision breeding” to describe gene or genome editing. Led by Dr. Michael Antoniou, the statement is a response to the UK’s draft Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill, which would remove or weaken regulatory controls for gene-editing technology.
“Precision breeding” is misleading, they say, because gene editing is neither precise, nor is it breeding as it’s usually known—it’s rather an artificial gene modification procedure taking place in a lab. Along with “precision bred organisms” they are marketing slogans rather than scientific descriptions, they argue—completely absent from the international standards set forth in ISO’s “Genome Editing Vocabulary.”
Currently the UK recognizes gene-edited crops and animals as GMOs, requiring risk assessments for humans, animals, and the environment and labeling as GMO. The UK bill would eliminate these safeguards under an appearance of controllability and predictability—implying safety.
However, gene editing inevitably causes unintended DNA damage well documented in scientific literature, bringing potential risk to health and the environment. Risk assessments should be a requirement for products of the technology, scientists urge.
The scientists’ statement can be viewed here:
Organic & Non-GMO Insights October 2022