UK ministers are taking timid steps towards approving gene-editing technologies in agriculture. The environment minister, George Eustis, would like to repeal rules that hinder research and development of genetically modified plants. This would pave the way for British farmers to “more nutritious and resilient crops”.
Genome editing allows scientists to replace genes that govern certain traits, such as water addiction, disease resistance and nutrition, with genes of the same type that work better. This technology has the potential to make crops more nutritious and resistant to storms or pests, and increase the resilience and productivity of plant and animal crops, its proponents say.
It would be the first step out of strict European regulations, which ban genetic improvement techniques. Some scholars have argued that the government was taking a very cautious approach.
according to news.co.uk¸ Officials insist that gene editing differs from genetic modification (GM) because it improves the genetic makeup of plants “in a manner similar to what occurs in nature or through conventional breeding methods”.
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