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Biomass Technology

USDA proposes new GM rule.

“This…would provide a clear, predictable, and efficient regulatory pathway for innovators, facilitating the development of new and novel genetically engineered organisms that are unlikely to pose plant pest risks.”

The US is planning to revise its regulations on importing, transporting and releasing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The news is set to be welcomed by the biotechnology sector.

The proposal announced last week from the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is the first comprehensive revision of the regulations since they were established in 1987.

The new rule aims to reduce the regulatory burden to reflect advances in genetic engineering and better understanding of plant pest risks, the APHIS said.

In a statement, the APHIS said: “This…would provide a clear, predictable, and efficient regulatory pathway for innovators, facilitating the development of new and novel genetically engineered organisms that are unlikely to pose plant pest risks.”

The new rules would exempt plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional techniques, since breeders are increasingly breeding GMOs that were indistinguishable from the original plant. One example being those that have been modified to introduce certain traits much more quickly than normal.

APHIS said the proposed exemptions followed a statement in March 2018 by US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in which he pledged to allow innovation where there was no risk present.

APHIS said the deadline for comments on the proposed rule will be 5 August. However, it has also said that there was no specified date for the new rules to be adopted or come into force.


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