The Expert's Forum 2018

- Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Plant organisms obtained by mutagenesis to be classified as GMO by European Union

The Court of Justice of the European Union published recently the ruling which classifies plant organisms obtained by mutagenesis as genetically obtained organisms (GMO) stating that they are subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO Directive. This decision directly affects the so-called New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs), which cover all techniques of genome edition, including the popular CRISPR-CAS9. Despite this decision, the Court excluded mutagenesis techniques based on the exposure of plant material to chemicals or radiation, under the argument that they can considered as safe, given the experience of their long use in agriculture.

This ruling is in contradiction to the statement issued by U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 28, 2018. USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plant varieties obtained by genomic editing. The Advocate General of the European Union had also expressed his opinion last January, that NPBTs should be exempted from the obligations in the Genetically Modified Organisms Directive. The entire European scientific community together with European Plant Science Organisation express their high concerns and disappointment with regards to Court of Justice ruling as this will have tremendous effect on the plant science.


European Court of Justice

- Press release

- Full text






- Tuesday, 24 April 2018

US Department of Agriculture has recently issued a statement declaring that the USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plant varieties obtained by genomic editing.

The reason is that these plants could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques.





- Friday, 06 April 2018

Genome edition is not transgenesis, according the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union

According to a recently published opinion, as an answer to a query to the French government by a French agricultural union, genomic edition is a mutagenesis technique. Consequently it is not bound to the GMO European Directive. The opinion is not a binding one for the Court, however its legal implications are quite relevant.





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