Leading Plant Scientists in EU Call for Science-Based Policy Making to Safeguard Plant Breeding Innovation
Leading scientists from more than 85 plant and life sciences research
centers and institutes in the European Union (EU) have endorsed a position
paper that urgently calls upon European policy makers to safeguard
innovation in plant science and agriculture. The position paper comes after
a recent European Court of Justice ruling around modern genome editing
techniques. Scientists are deeply concerned that the decision could lead to
a de facto ban of innovative crop breeding.
"As European leaders in the field of plant sciences, we are committed to
bringing innovative and sustainable solutions to agriculture, but we are
hindered by an outdated regulatory framework that is not in line with recent
scientific evidence. With this mission statement we hope to promote
evidence-informed policymaking in the EU, which is of crucial importance to
us all," says Dirk Inzé, Scientific Director at VIB and one of the
initiators of the position paper. The position paper has more than 500
signatories to date.
The court ruling will result to European farmers being deprived of a new
generation of more climate resilient and more nutritious crop varieties that
are urgently needed to respond to current ecological and societal
challenges. The position paper follows a number of statements from European
research institutes that appeared online over the last months. The letter
also shows that the entire scientific community is convinced that the recent
CJEU ruling will bring European agricultural innovation in plant breeding to
a halt if some form of political action is not taken.