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David Sparks Ph.d Genome editing
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: April 05, 2018

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U.S.Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has issued a statement providing clarification on the USDA’s oversight of plants produced through innovative new breeding techniques which include techniques called genome editing.Under its biotechnology regulations, USDA does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests. This includes a set of new techniques that are increasingly being used by plant breeders to produce new plant varieties that are indistinguishable from those developed through traditional breeding methods. The newest of these methods, such as genome editing, expand traditional plant breeding tools because they can introduce new plant traits more quickly and precisely, potentially saving years or even decades in bringing needed new varieties to farmers.

Secretary Perdue said “With this approach, USDA seeks to allow innovation when there is no risk present. At the same time, he wants to be clear to consumers that USDA will not be stepping away from their regulatory responsibilities. While these crops do not require regulatory oversight, USDA has an important role to play in protecting plant health by evaluating products developed using modern biotechnology. This is a role USDA has played for more than 30 years, and one I will continue to take very seriously, as we work to modernize our technology-focused regulations.”

“Plant breeding innovation holds enormous promise for helping protect crops against drought and diseases while increasing nutritional value and eliminating allergens,” Perdue said. “Using this science, farmers can continue to meet consumer expectations for healthful, affordable food produced in a manner that consumes fewer natural resources. This new innovation will help farmers do what we aspire to do at USDA: do right and feed everyone.”

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