BioISI researchers from the Plant Functional Genomics Group have been involved in a recommendation that lead the foundations of the European Commission’s (EC) proposal concerning the regulation of New Genomic Techniques (NTGs), presented last 5 July, to the European Parliament.

This proposal concerns only plants produced by mutations in the genome without the insertion of foreign genetic material (targeted mutagenesis) and by means of the insertion of genetic material from a donor sexually compatible with the receiving organism (cisgenesis) and also food and feed derived from them. These techniques will allow the development of improved plant varieties that are climate resistant and require less fertilizers and pesticides.

The main difference between plants grown by NGTs and genetic modified organisms (GMOs) is that, in the first case, genes from other species are not inserted, but only the ones from that specific species or from a sexually compatible plant.  In practical terms, it will be possible to accelerate the activation of certain plant properties – which are desirable by making them more resilient – in a faster and more precise way.

If the proposal is approved by the European Parliament, plants obtained through the latter techniques will be no longer subject to existing legislation on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This could be a helpful measure to ensure food sustainability, given the increasing world population’s pattern and the breeding challenges due to climate change.

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