Statement on the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the application of genome editing technologies to plants and animals

26 July 2018

The European Court of Justice has ruled (PDF) that organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs and are, in principle, subject to the obligations laid down by the GMO Directive.

In response, John Skehel, Vice-President and Biological Secretary, the Royal Society says:

“The Royal Society has a long-standing position that plant and animal applications for genetic technologies should be regulated based on the trait that has been introduced rather than on the process used to introduce the trait. The European Court of Justice’s ruling is disappointing because it means that new genetic technologies that the UK is at the forefront of developing now come under a regulatory approach that effectively prohibits their use. It is important that regulation is effective without stifling the opportunities that technologies such as genome editing present.”