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Cibus Welcomes the European Commission’s Landmark Study on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) that Includes Cibus’ Gene Editing Technologies
Study Affirms the Potential of NGTs to Significantly Contribute to Agriculture Sustainability, the Key Objectives of the European Green Deal (Farm to Fork), and Makes an Urgent Call for Regulatory Reform
San Diego – May 4, 2021 - Cibus, a leader in precision gene editing and trait development in agriculture, welcomes the published findings of the European Commission’s New Genomics Techniques (NGTs) study. The study endorsed NGTs as environmentally benign technologies that will enable a more sustainable agri-food ecosystem and help breed more resilient crops. The benefits include plants resistant to diseases and everchanging environmental conditions, increased nutritional value, and decreased use of chemical crop protection products. The study highlighted the potential of NGTs to contribute to key objectives associated with the European Green Deal and Farm to Fork Initiative. Study findings also confirmed the urgent need for policy reform around the use of NGTs in agriculture, specifically around the legislation adopted in 2001 classifying all NGTs as GMO.
“The conclusions of this study align with the views of other countries, in which trait products from precision gene editing and traditional plant breeding are regulated in the same way,” said Peter Beetham, Ph.D., chief executive officer, co-founder and president of Cibus. “This research is an integral step toward obtaining global regulatory alignment on NGTs, which is critical to realizing the promise and potential of these technologies for our global agricultural markets."
The Council of the European Union requested the study, specifically around the status of new genomic techniques under Union Law (Directive 2001/18/EC, Regulation (EC) 1829/2003, Directive 2009/41/EC and Regulation (EC) 1830/2003), in light of the Court of Justice’s judgment in Case C-528/16. The study defined NGTs as techniques capable of changing genetic material and specifically studied applications in plants, animals and micro-organisms for applications in agriculture, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Technologies developed after the 2001 GMO legislation were examined. Key parts of the research included a separate study on the safety of NGTs by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and feedback from major stakeholders. The EFSA assessment concluded that genome editing techniques associated with specific Novel Breeding Technologies (NBTs) that edit the DNA of plants and do not introduce foreign genetic materials such as transgenes or recombinant DNA pose no more hazards than traditional plant breeding.
“This study is a major milestone that caps decades of work by a new generation of plant breeders whose vision of post-GMO agriculture led to the development of these NBTs," said Greg Gocal, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and co-founder of Cibus. “NBTs represent a new opportunity to develop input traits that address the growing global challenges of increased yields and climate change, as well as the urgent need for greater sustainability and reduction in agriculture’s carbon footprint.”
Cibus is a leading AgTech company that uses precision gene editing non-GMO technologies to improve farming practice by bringing biological innovation to the seed. The company’s focus is input traits and agronomic traits, in the largest crops: canola, rice, soybean, corn and wheat, addressing the key areas of farming practice associated with controlling disease, weed, insects and climate stress. Advances in input traits are widely recognized as important key elements of the global push to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture and to building more sustainable, profitable and eco-friendly farming practices. The company has subsidiaries in Europe and North America and a research and development center in San Diego, California.