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The RSB has issued a statement welcoming the outcome of the consultation on genetic technologies regulation, published September 29.

The announcement followed the review of more than 6,000 responses from individuals, businesses, academia and other organisations, including from the RSB.

In the RSB consultation response, we stated that a modern regulatory system for genome editing should adopt “a proportionate and science-based approach to risk-assessment,” whilst pointing out that in order to protect ecosystems and reduce biodiversity loss, “agriculture must do more with less.”

The results of the consultation outcome can be read online.

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Dr Mark Downs CSci FRSB commented on the outcome: “The Royal Society of Biology welcomes the Government’s announcement to adopt a more science-based and proportionate approach to the regulation of genetic technologies in farming, food production and for other uses.

“We firmly believe risk assessment should focus on case-specific attributes of the products and their uses, and consider all relevant impacts – on human health and wellbeing, animal health and welfare, biosecurity, the environment and biodiversity – but not rigidly focus on which breeding method is used.

“The Government’s proposal –  to allow the use of genome editing for targeted changes that could have been achieved with conventional methods - is a first step towards further exploring the great potential of genetic technologies.

Use of these technologies could help achieve sustainable goals and realise beneficial outcomes for society and the environment.

“However, we also believe that a proportionate and evidence-based regulatory system should oversee all forms of breeding, including future breeding methods, in a flexible and adaptable way that fosters the UK’s thriving research and innovation sector.

The transparency and robustness of the regulatory process should also look to foster citizens’ trust.”

You can read our summary policy perspective on the need for a new approach to the use of genetic technologies here.