The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts will organise an online panel discussion on the conclusions and recommendations of the recent KVAB-ALLEA symposium report “Genome Editing for Crop Improvement” on 3 December, at 16:00 CET. Registration for the event is open.
The discussion will include the lead authors of the report, Oana Dima (VIB), Hubert Bocken (UGent, KVAB), René Custers (VIB), Pere Puigdomènech (CRAG, ALLEA) and Dirk Inzé (VIB, KVAB). The debate will be moderated by Godelieve Gheysen (UGent, KVAB).
The event will delve into the key takeaways of the report, which tackles the impasse of European policy and legislation after the ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU of 2018. This decision placed genome-edited crops under the Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) legislation. Since then, the scientific community has passionately debated the future of these new breeding techniques.
The publication presents the state of the art of scientific evidence in the field and explores paths to harmonise EU legislation with recent scientific developments, while particularly considering relevant ethical and societal considerations.
Among the conclusions, the authors warned that continued legislative and policy restrictions may hamper the selection of more productive, diverse, and climate-resilient crops with a reduced environmental footprint.
The article also calls for an open, honest dialogue with all stakeholders, including the public, in the decision-making processes for introducing genome-edited products into the market, ensuring that the implications of market introduction are accurately communicated.