b'GIANT VIEWSBY: PER HENRIKSSONTHE SWEDISH PRESIDENCY: A TIME OF ANTICIPATION PENDING THE NEW REGULATORY TEXTS FROM COMPlant breeding in Sweden has beenamount of chemicals and energy to separate a key factor for a viable agricultural pro- these different starch types in the potato duction in the Nordic region. Swedishtubers. And these resources would be saved breeders were early to apply the geneticusing these new and enhanced starch-potato theories presented by Gregor Mendel andvarieties containing the newly developed spe-on these findings develop breeding effortscific starch traits.based on single plant selection and lineWith the court decision made by the breeding programs in several crops as wellEuropean Court of Justice in 2018 which as development of hybrid breeding pro- states that mutation techniques, developed grams, with main efforts on sugar beetafter 2001, must be covered by the GMO-hybrid varieties. More recently, NGTs, indirective 2001/18, all field trial activi-particularly with the aid of the target spe- ties based on CRISPR-events in Sweden cific mutation method CRISPR-Cas9, arehad immediately to be put on hold. This in use to develop novel traits with a focuswas to the frustration of all involved par-on potatoes. ties, including the Swedish Competent Per Henriksson The competent authorities in SwedenAuthorities. Some projects and activities understood early on the benefits of theseinvolving NGTs have been maintained at new breeding tools and the developmentSwedish research laboratories after 2018, O n the 1st of January 2023, Swedenof new and valuable traits. The Swedishbut scientists, as well as supporting com-took over the Presidency of the EUauthorities stated early on that if techniquespanies are running out of patience and were Council. The country was well pre- for targeted mutations have been used, andlooking forward to a final regulatory break-pared to move forward on three significantif genomic sequences are inserted, thesethrough in the beginning of 2023.legal packages: Plant Reproductive Materialshould only originate from species fromDuring its Presidency period, Sweden (PRM), New Genomic Techniques (NGT)where the same sequences can be trans- hasand will continueto make efforts and Sustainable Use of Plant Protectionferred by conventional- and today usedand emphasize on the importance of these Products. breeding technics. Novel plats fulfillingexpected regulatory texts, in particularly But the Russian invasion of Ukrainethese requirements should not be consid- NGT, and the impact these will have on has caused a worldwide increase in foodered a GM-plant and therefor exempt fromall different agricultural production systems and energy prices, as well as a significantthe GMO-directive, 2001/18.in Europe. raised inflation rate in many countries. TheSeveral field trials with plants contain- During the first half of its presidency Commission and Council must prioritiseing traits developed with the CRISPR-Cas9period in 2023, Sweden must focus on keep-and implement action plans to address thesetechnology were granted approval and beening these topics high on the agendas and urgent social and economic matters and atperformed in Sweden. The first field trialin discussions at the European Parliament the same time maintain a coherent andwas conducted 2015 with cabbage plantsas well as with the EU Member States, united opposition by all EU member statesdeveloped at the Ume University, Sweden.instead of hands-on guiding and managing against the Russian aggressions in Ukraine.This is one of the research sites where Drthe new legal texts through the regulatory All this caused several delays in theEmmanuelle Charpentier and her co-workerslabyrinths in the EU. Sweden will most release of the legal initiatives on PRM andmade the breakthrough in CRISPR-researchlikely be obliged to forward thesefor the NGT, and the latest announced release datewhich resulted in the Nobel Prize Award inEuropean plant breeding and seed industry is on 7 June 2023. These delays have meant2020. This first trial was followed by several important tasks on to the Spanish pres-that the planned and scheduled meetingsfield trials with potato plants where, with theidency in July 2023 and for them to guide and activities in connection with PRM andCRISPR-tool, adjustments had been madethe Commission proposals on PRM, NGT NGT unfortunately had to be cancelledfor the produced tubers to contain only oneas well as the Sustainable Use Regulation and removed from the agendas during thespecific type of starchamylose or amylo- texts past all potential hurdles and with Swedish Presidency. So far, these topicspectin. Currently grown starch potato vari- hopefully the highest possible pace.remain, at present, only as points on theeties are producing tubers containing a mix agenda of the AGRI-FISH Council meet- of both these two types. Today, the starchEditors Note: Per Henriksson is CEO of the ing, end of June. processing industry must use a considerableSwedish Seed Trade Association SVUF 48IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'