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The regulation of genome-edited plants in the European Union

The current EU rules on genetically modified organisms (GMO) are not fit for purpose anymore, leading scientists warn in a commentary of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), and call for radical reforms.

EASAC Commentary "The regulation of genome edited plants in the EU"
Image: EASAC

In 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that the legal regulations for GMOs also apply to all organisms that have been altered using new genome editing methods. This has an impact on the study, development and cultivation of improved crops, even though the new techniques have great potential to improve both public and planetary health.

The European Council already asked the European Commission to clarify regulatory options. EASAC sees this as an opportunity for reforms with a view to revise the EU’s GMO definition, to develop a new legal framework that regulates the plant trait and/or product rather than the technology used in generating that product, and to develop new tools for future innovation in farming practices.

Edition / Volume: EASAC Commentary
Pages: 7 p.


  • Gene technology
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • Genome editing


Dr. Roger Pfister
Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
House of Academies
PO Box
3001 Bern