Seed World

Diving Deeper Into GeneBEcon

Marcel Bruins, the editorial director for European Seed, sat down with Petra Jorasch, manager plant breeding innovation advocacy at Euroseeds, at the Euroseeds 2022 Congress to talk about gene editing.

“Gene weakness is important because of the new genomic techniques (NGT) discussion. New genomic techniques are very relevant at the moment, and it’s a very science-based discussion as well — scientists are also involved in the policy discussion,” Jorasch explained.

Jorasch said the GeneBEcon project takes a holistic view on the topic. According to the Euroseeds site, GeneBEcon is “an ambitious Horizon Europe-funded project that will examine the innovation potential of gene editing in enabling a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe. Through the application of this technology in potato and microalgae, GeneBEcon intends to promote energy-efficient, low-input, and zero-pollution agricultural production and clean industrial processing.”

After the initial assessment of the project — including stakeholder and public consultations —the policy proposal is set to be released in the spring of 2023.

“It’s not the commission just deciding on the final proposal — that needs to be agreed with parliament and council,” she said. “We do not really expect a final proposal before we have the next European elections in 2024, so the discussion will most likely continue after the elections.”

The process will take a few years, but Jorasch said most countries are going ahead with similar approaches.

“There’s some pressure on the EU to keep up with the pace other countries in view of new regulations. Specifically the UK — they are the closest to the EU and they are going ahead. They expect to have a new legal framework already for next year.”

To hear more, watch the interview above.