Royal Society responds to details of the Government’s Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill in the Queen’s Speech

09 May 2022

Responding to details of the Government’s Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill and Energy Security Bill in the Queen’s Speech, Professor Dame Linda Partridge, Vice-President and Biological Secretary of the Royal Society, said: 

“Genetic technologies, including genome editing, can help address the environmental and societal challenges faced by 21st century agriculture.

“The Royal Society has always advocated that regulation of genetic technologies should be based on the outcome of any genetic changes, rather than the current focus on the technology used to make a genetic change. This approach would ensure that safety, welfare, and environmental issues are all considered, and that legislation is future proofed against new technologies.  We have previously called for a public forum to inform decisions on gene editing uses.”

Professor Peter Bruce, Vice President and Physical Secretary of the Royal Society, said:

"It is good to see the UK reaffirming its commitment to research and develop the technologies required to reach net-zero carbon emissions in today’s speech. But when faced with a challenge of this magnitude, the words have always been the easy bit. 

"We need to accelerate the deployment of technologies such as wind, solar and nuclear plants, but deployment alone won’t solve the problem of energy security and decarbonisation. Given the stark warning from the recent IPCC report on just how far we must go to reduce carbon emissions, we will need new technologies such as small modular nuclear reactors, hydrogen and large-scale energy storage. We are likely to have to go further and faster than ever before in our energy transition.

"Science can help deliver the solutions if we have the long-term vision and the will to deliver. That is the real challenge for government. Vaccine development in the pandemic has shown what can be achieved if we trust the experts and throw our full weight behind them to get on with what they do best."