New GM plants do not have a history of safe use and should not be exempted from biosafety assessments.

Eckerstorfer MF et al (2021). Biosafety of genome editing applications in plant breeding: Considerations for a focused case-specific risk assessment in the EU. BioTech 2021, 10(3), 10
This important review of the safety of gene-edited GM plants for health and the environment was authored by a group of scientists working for national government regulatory agencies in EU member states and Switzerland. The review discusses how to assess the risk and safety of gene-edited GM plants in light of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinions on this topic. It challenges EFSA to improve its guidance on the risk assessment of gene-edited GM plants and points out some misconceptions on the part of EFSA, certain scientists, and lobbyists who want to weaken regulations on gene-edited plants.

The review points out:

  • The claim that gene editing is precise is NOT accurate
  • Changes brought about by gene editing are NOT the same as those produced by conventional breeding
  • Gene editing applications that don’t deliberately introduce “foreign DNA” are not by default safer than genetic engineering methods that do
  • The fact that some forms of gene editing are meant to only bring about “small” changes in DNA is NOT a reliable denominator of risk/safety
  • Not enough is known about the off-target modifications brought about by some forms of gene-editing to assume safety
  • If gene-edited plants can, as claimed, be developed at greater speed, that can mean HIGHER risk.

Other reports on the need for regulation of gene editing include:

Kawall K (2021). The generic risks and the potential of SDN-1 applications in crop plants. Plants 10(11). 10.3390/plants10112259

Eckerstorfer MF et al (2019). An EU perspective on biosafety considerations for plants developed by genome editing and other new genetic modification techniques (nGMs). Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol.

Gelinksky E and Hilbeck A (2018). European Court of Justice ruling regarding new genetic engineering methods scientifically justified: a commentary on the biased reporting about the recent ruling. Environmental Sciences Europe 30(1):52

Kawall K et al (2020). Broadening the GMO risk assessment in the EU for genome editing technologies in agriculture. Environmental Sciences Europe volume 32, Article number: 106 (2020)

The above list was excerpted and modified from

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