Researchers propose new framework for controlling engineered crops

Researchers propose new framework for controlling engineered crops

Safety testing would be recommended for products with new characteristics that have potential health or environmental consequences, or for products with uninterpretable differences, and most new items do not trigger the need for regulation. Credit: NC State University

A Policy Forum article published today science Calls for a new approach to regulating genetically modified (GE) crops, arguing that current approaches to triggering safety tests vary dramatically between countries and generally lack scientific merit—especially as advances in crop breeding blur the lines between traditional breeding and genetic engineering.

Instead of focusing on the methods and processes behind the creation of a GE crop to determine whether testing is necessary, a more effective framework would use “-omics” approaches to examine specific new features of the crop, the article asserts. . In the same way Biomedical Sciences Genomic approaches can be used to scan human genomes for problematic mutations, and genomics can be used to scan new crop varieties for unexpected DNA changes.

Additional “-omics” methods such as transcriptomics, proteomics, epigenomics, and metabolomics examine other changes in the molecular structure of plants. These measurements of thousands of molecular traits can be used like a fingerprint to determine whether a product from a new variety is “substantially equivalent” to products already produced by existing varieties—for example, whether a new peach variety has the same molecular characteristics. Already found in one or more existing commercial peach cultivars.

If the new product either has no differences or does not have the expected health differences or perceived differences Environmental effects Compared to products of existing varieties, no Security check Be recommended, the article suggests. However, if the product has new characteristics that have potential health or environmental effects, or if the product has uninterpretable differences, safety testing is recommended.

“The approaches used now—which vary among governments—lack scientific rigor,” said Fred Gould, University Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University, co-director of NC State’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Society, and a corresponding author of the article. “The size of the change made in a product and the origin of the DNA have little to do with the effects of that change; changing one base pair of DNA in a crop with 2.5 billion base pairs, such as corn, can make a significant difference.”

When dealing with varieties made with a powerful gene-editing system known as CRISPR, the European Union regulates all varieties, while other governments make decisions on the size of the genetic change and the source of the inserted genetic material. Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture established a rule in 2020 that exempts conventionally grown crop varieties and GE crop varieties that can be developed by other methods. Genetic engineering.

“-omics” approaches, if used appropriately, will not increase the cost of regulation, Gould said, and most new species will not stimulate the need for regulation.

“The most important question is, ‘Does the new species have unusual characteristics,'” Gould said. The paper estimates that technological advances could reduce laboratory costs for a set of “-omics” tests to about $5,000 within five to 10 years.

Forming an international committee of crop breeders, chemists and molecular biologists to establish the options and costs of “-omics” approaches for diverse crops will begin the process of developing this new regulatory framework. Workshops with these experts, sociologists, policymakers, regulators and representatives of the public will enable credible discussions to avoid some of the problems faced when GE came into being in the 1990s. National and international governing bodies should sponsor these committees and workshops Innovative research To get the ball rolling and ensure assessments are accessible and accurate, Gould said.

In 2016, Gould chaired a 20-member National Academy of Sciences committee, Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects, which aimed to “assess and assess the evidence for the negative effects of GE crops and their accompanying technologies.” Evidence for GE’s intended benefits Crops and their associated technologies.” The policy paper published this week was co-authored by much of that committee.

Genetically Modified Crops: Experiences and Prospects: New Report

More information:
Fred Gould, Towards Product-Based Control of Crops, science (2022). DOI: 10.1126/science.abo3034.

reference: Researchers propose new framework for regulating engineered crops Retrieved September 1, 2022, from (2022, September 1).

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