In this file:
· Bayer, BASF to pursue plant gene editing elsewhere after EU ruling
· EU court rules gene editing is genetic modification
Bayer, BASF to pursue plant gene editing elsewhere after EU ruling
By Reuters News Service
via The Western Producer (Canada) - July 27, 2018
FRANKFURT, July 27 (Reuters) – Bayer and BASF , among Europe’s largest makers of farm supplies, all but ruled out pursuing genetic plant breeding at home after the EU ruled the technology should be regulated like genetically modified organisms (GMO).
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said on Wednesday mutagenesis-based gene-editing methods such as CRISPR/Cas9, which can rearrange targeted bits of DNA, fall under rules that now apply to genetic modification via strands of DNA from a different species.
“As we run a global platform, it would mean that basically these applications of these instruments would not be used in Europe and Germany. So overall, that does not impact us as a company too much, but as a European, I’m worried about what that means to the Europeans,” Chief Executive Martin Brudermueller told analysts in a call on Friday.
BASF in 2012 moved its plant research operations to the United States from Germany in frustration over regulatory proceedings in Europe but this year it agreed to buy most of Bayer’s seed business including some German-based genetic research operations.
Bayer, taking the No.1 spot in the global seeds and pesticides market with the purchase of Monsanto, also ruled out trying to bring gene-edited crops based on mutagenesis to European markets.
A company spokesman referred to a statement that Chief Executive Werner Baumann made after signing the Monsanto deal, vowing the combined group would not develop genetically modified crops for commercial use in Europe.
Following the ECJ verdict, the company has widened the definition of “genetically modified” accordingly to include gene editing, the spokesman said.
Few, if any, commercial ventures based on gene editing have been launched so far in Europe, and only large players were seen as likely to pioneer product development, industry analysts say.
The ECJ ruling will translate into near-prohibitive overhead costs of market access, meaning that smaller players can be ruled out from taking the challenge, they added.
Legal uncertainty before the ruling previously limited work on gene-edited plants to early-stage research and discouraged the launch of commercial applications in Europe...
EU court rules gene editing is genetic modification
Decision draws sharp criticism from scientific community.
Krissa Welshans, Feedstuffs
Jul 26, 2018
The European Union Court of Justice ruled this week that using genome editing, also called mutagenesis, to alter living organisms is defined as genetic modification, drawing sharp criticism from the scientific community.
Genome editing is a technique that precisely edits an organism’s native genome, while traditional genetic modification modifies an organism by inserting foreign DNA. Scientists have explained that genome editing is a more efficient and precise method of manipulating genes. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the other hand, contain DNA from other organisms.
According to the court, the Confédération paysanne, a French agricultural union that defends the interests of small-scale farming, together with eight other associations, brought an action before the Conseil d’État (Council of State, France) to contest France's legislation that exempts organisms obtained by mutagenesis from obligations imposed by the directive on GMOs.
“Confédération paysanne and the other associations take the view that the use of herbicide-resistant seed varieties carries a risk of significant harm to the environment and to human and animal health, in the same way as GMOs obtained by transgenesis,” the court stated.
It was in this context that the Conseil d’État asked the EU court to determine whether organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs and whether they are subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO Directive, which would require food labeling for products using the technique of genetic modification.
The Court of Justice ruled that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs within the meaning of the GMO Directive “in so far as the techniques and methods of mutagenesis alter the genetic material of an organism in a way that does not occur naturally.”
The court did state that the GMO Directive does not apply to...