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GE and GM: techniques for a changing climate?

In Europe, climate change is bringing genetic technologies back onto the political agenda. In particular, the EU plans to lift some restrictions on how some types of genetically engineered crops can be approved.

The category of plants that may be more easily approved are specifically those that have been genetically edited, while genetically modified plants would continue to face stiff approval processes.


So what’s the difference?

Gene edited plants have had their own genes changed in some way – genes added or deleted from their own or a closely related species’ genome. These are changes that, in theory at least, could have been made to happen through conventional breeding processes, though taking the genetic

engineering route speeds things up and may bring more certainty to the outcome. (Image: Pierre Sudre)

Genetically modified plants are those that have had genetic material added to them from a quite different species. These changes could not have occurred through natural or agricultural processes. Approvals for genetically modified plants are also to be judged in terms of the needs of a more climate stressed food system.

What do you think of this distinction between gene editing and gene modification?

Do you think it could help us make decisions about genetic technologies for our environment?


How could comparing genetic editing to genetic modification change how we might evaluate genetic technologies for the control or eradication of predator species? What about the conservation of vulnerable native flora and fauna?

We’d love to hear from you! Please comment below.



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2 Comments


Guest
Dec 09, 2023

I can't see a way of putting genetic modifcation and conservation together?

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Guest
Aug 06, 2023

Gene editing is so much more precise and more "natural" than genetic modification that NZ should definitely be investing in this research area with the eventual goal to deploy. I'd much rather eat gene edited vegetables than ones that have received multiple doses of chemical insecticides.

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