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EFSA: Existing guidance appropriate for gene editing assessment

Genome editing does not pose any additional hazards compared to conventional breeding or other genetic modification methods, according to the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) in a scientific opinion requested by the European Commission. Therefore, the existing guidance documents for risk assessment are sufficient but only partially applicable to plants developed using genome editing, as requirements relating to foreign DNA are not relevant.

EFSA’s latest scientific opinion, published on Wednesday 24 November, focused on plants produced using different genome editing techniques. These techniques modify a specific region of the genome but, unlike traditional genetic modification (GM), do not introduce foreign DNA.

The opinion was requested by the European Commission, who asked EFSA to assess whether its guidelines for the risk assessment of GM plants can be used for the risk assessment of plants produced using these techniques.

Experts concluded that the existing guidance is applicable for the evaluation of the three new techniques. In fact, EFSA concluded that fewer datasets may be needed for the risk assessment compared to other GM techniques given the absence of new DNA.

Source: https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/existing-guidance-appropriate-for-gene-editing-assessment-says-efsa/