A recent study by the European Commission demonstrates the benefits of new genomic techniques to improve sustainability. bio.be/essenscia, the Belgian federation for life sciences and biotechnology, supports this breakthrough in the debate about these promising innovations that offer new hope for solutions to health, agriculture and sustainability challenges. It hopes that the legislation will provide a clear framework for Belgian biotech stakeholders to develop, produce and apply these technologies.
At the request of the Council of the European Union, the Commission has published a study on New Genomic Techniques, (NGTs), techniques to alter the genome of an organism. This study demonstrates that NGTs can be valuable assets for the European Green Deal. It also shows that the current legislation on GMOs, dating from 2001, is inappropriate for these technologies. For that reason, the European Commission will begin an extensive public consultation process to discuss the design of a new legal framework for these innovative biotechnologies.
bio.be/essenscia is delighted with the findings of this study. New genomic techniques are promising in both agro biotech and health biotech. For example, the Crispr/Cas9 tool, the technology that won geneticists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, makes it possible to cut DNA at a precise location. This revolutionary method would be useful to make crops more disease resistant and drought tolerant. It could also be used in the development of new therapies for cancer and cures for hereditary diseases.
“Appropriate regulation is essential to provide a framework for these revolutionary innovations, but we must ensure that the precautionary principle does not hold back innovation and progress”
Frédéric Druck, Secretary General of bio.be/essenscia
Frédéric Druck, Secretary General of bio.be/essenscia: “This study is an important first step for the biotechnology sector in Europe. We expect a lot from the public consultation and hope that the Belgian authorities will support this progress within European discussions so that Europe and Belgium can continue to be technological leaders in research and industrial development. Appropriate regulation is essential to provide a framework for these revolutionary innovations, but we must ensure that the precautionary principle does not hold back innovation and progress.”