Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Genome Edited Plants, 2022
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The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has issued Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Genome Edited Plants, 2022.
The guidelines are expected to bring transformationd change in product development and commercialisation.
The guidelines easing norms for research into Genetically Modified (GM) crops and circumventing challenges of using foreign genes to change crops profile.
Earlier, the Government has allowed genome-edited plants without the cumbersome GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) regulation at the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
The Environment Ministry, in a notification in March 2022, had exempted certain types of genome-edited crops from the stringent biosafety regulations applicable to genetically-modified (GM) crops.
The ministry had exempted site directed nuclease (SDN) 1 and 2 genomes from rules 7-11 of the Environment Protection Act, thus allowing to avoid a long process for approval of GM crops through the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
The ‘Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Genome Edited Plants, 2022’ exempt researchers who use gene-editing technology to modify the genome of the plant from seeking approvals from the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), an expert body of the Environment Ministry.
The GEAC evaluates research into GM plants and recommends, or disapproves, their release into farmer fields.
The final call, however, is taken by the Environment Ministry as well as States where such plants could be cultivated. The Environment Ministry too has sanctioned this exemption.