A group of 50 prominent international scientists and policy makers have published a joint statement warning that the term ‘precision breeding’ applied to gene editing is “misleading and inaccurate”.
The intervention comes days before the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill returns to Parliament after the summer recess.
The scientists say that the Bill is an attempt by the UK Government to “weaken or remove regulatory controls around gene editing”. Other critics of the legislation, including prominent figures in the organic sector, have warned that the Bill is being rushed through Parliament to ensure minimum scrutiny. However, that has not prevented the UK Government’s own regulation watchdog from concluding that the Bill is “not fit for purpose”.
The letter argues that term precision breeding is “technically and scientifically inaccurate and therefore misleads Parliament, regulators, and the public”. This, it bluntly asserts, is because “gene editing is not precise, and not breeding”.