The scientists are deeply concerned about a recent European Court of Justice ruling around modern genome editing techniques like CRISPR/Cas that could lead to a de facto ban of innovative crop breeding. As a result, European farmers might be 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 implications of a very restrictive regulation of innovative plant breeding methods are far-reaching. European agricultural innovation based on precision breeding will come to a halt because of the high threshold that this EU legislation presents. This will hinder progress in sustainable agriculture and will give a competitive disadvantage to plant breeding industries in Europe. The impacts on our society and economy will be enormous, the scientists state.