Gene Edited Food in UK
UK Has the Ability to Use Genome Editing For Livestock and Crops after Brexit Withdrawal Agreement
The government of the United Kingdom has launched a consultation on focus on using the technological advancements for gene edited food crops and domestic livestock animals in England.
The procedure of gene editing allows the alternation in the genetic DNA of any living organism, but until now, the usage of gene edited food and animals have only been allowed to a certain extent by the regulatory laws of the European Union.
Genetic engineering in the United Kingdom
According to George Eustice, the Environment Secretary of the United Kingdom, the approach of gene-edited food is safe for human consumption, while the crops developed are able to resist to extreme weather conditions and various diseases. He also said that the gene edited food crop could provide more health benefits, but some people are not happy with the idea of consuming artificially modified crops.
Regarding the gene edited food and livestock, the critics say that the usage of technology for this purpose creates an entirely new and different living organism, and is able to maintain that stringent regulation is vital.
The procedure of gene edited food and animals allows to make précised changes in the genetic DNA material in one particular species, and for the past several years, the scientific community as regarded the process as distinct from the GM foods (genetically modified), as in that process, the DNA from a one almost living organism is transferred into the other DNA that required modification.
Although in the year 2018, the European Court of Justice has ruled to count the gene editing as part of genetic engineering. Across the entire European Union, the technology for genetic engineering is allowed to be used for limited purposes along with strict monitoring and regulations.
The United Kingdom now does not have to follow through with the laws and regulations of European Union, which were ‘notoriously restrictive and politicized’, as stated by Mr Eustice during his speech at the Oxford Farming Conference.
Support for gene edited food and livestock
The Secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs also stated that the gene edited food is coming, and the technological procedure mimics the naturally conducted breeding process and is able to speed up the progression that requires actual farmers decades or even centuries by picking up the healthiest and strongest livestock animals and crops to breeding from to gain products with good physical conditions. He also said that the gene edited food and animals could raise less biological and ethical issues from the mass population, as compared to other forms of genetic engineering.
The living organisms that are being created using the technological advancements of gene edited food would be created using normal methods of breeding while respecting and maintaining the laws of nature.
The public consultation for the gene edited food has been welcomed by many scientists present at the time, marking it safe and healthy for the consumption of humans. This project has been broadly supported by crop scientists and farmers throughout the United Kingdom.
The technology of genome editing has already been used in various fields including medicine and gene edited food has massive potential to be used for tackling intensive challenges in agriculture that are related to the sudden climate changing conditions, food security and sustainability for a long duration.
The genome editing in various fields could act as a powerful tool, which could help in tackling the wide range of challenges that are faced by the United Kingdom and its food and agriculture system.
The gene edited food crops could help in increasing the resistance to diseases and pests in the farm animals and crops, which would consequently allow less usage of chemical pesticide sprays and antibiotics that would enhance the welfare of the animals and make the food health for human consumption.
The entire process would yield fewer waste products, including lengthening the shelf life of certain vegetable and fruits.
The said impact of the gene edited food depends on its usage, and the areas where it is being applied to. Although the precise movements and speed of the gene editing will have the ability of transformation in the process of development of a new species of animal or crop, along with help in the driving of more sustainable production of food products.