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A Fractured International Response to CRISPR-Enabled Gene Editing of Agricultural Products

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Document pages: 54 pages

Abstract: In 2015, Science Magazine named CRISPR gene editing technology its “Breakthrough of the Year,” and for good reason. CRISPR represents a transformative advance in the ability of biotechnologists to edit genes and genomes in both humans and nonhuman organisms. This article begins with a discussion of recent advances in gene editing, including the development of CRISPR and other sequence-specific nucleases (SSNs), and how this new technology compares to other techniques for genetically modifying agricultural plants such as selective breeding, induced random mutagenesis, and, more recently, the use of recombinant technology to produce transgenic plants. It then turns to the complex and dynamic regulatory framework for genetically modified plants as it exists in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere in the world, and how the various regulatory regimes are responding to recent advances in biotechnology, and in particular gene editing. The U.S. and many other nations appear to be moving in the direction of less regulation for the products of gene editing compared to transgenic crops produced using earlier technologies, while the European Union (EU) on the other hand has indicated that it will subject the products of gene editing to the same burdensome regulatory regime that has to date constrained the development and utilization of GE crops in Europe.

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