Calling the latest gene technologies ‘natural’ is a semantic distraction — they must still be regulated

J. A. Heinemann, D. J. Paull, S. Walker and B. Kurenbach,  The Conversation,  2021.

Legislators around the world are being asked to reconsider how to regulate the latest developments in gene technology, genome editing and gene silencing. Both the European Court of Justice and the New Zealand High Court have ruled that genome editing techniques should remain under the regulations specific to genetically modified organisms. But a few other countries, including Australia, have exempted some uses of these techniques from their regulations, based on similarities to what occurs in nature. The main argument is that the biochemical processes of editing are like the processes that cause natural mutations. The “equivalent to nature” narrative blurs the boundary between natural processes and technology.


More related to this:

Differentiated impacts of human interventions on nature: Scaling the conversation on regulation of gene technologies

Fighting disease: How are genetically engineered mosquitoes regulated?

New gene-drive technologies can help control crop pests

Using problem formulation for fit-for-purpose pre-market environmental risk assessments of regulated stressors

Technology Factsheet: Gene Drives

Viewpoint: Is there a scientific basis to ban gene drive technology that can rid us of virus-carrying rodents and mosquitoes?