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Experts Confirm Differences Between Genome Editing and Mutation Breeding

In a recent publication jointly prepared by experts from the German regulatory authority (BVL) and US corporation DowDuPont, the experts have explicitly confirmed significant differences between new methods of genetic engineering and conventional plant breeding.

According to the publication, plants manipulated with methods known as genome editing can be identified and traced in most cases. This position is in contradiction to previous BVL statements denying such differences.

The experts state that relevant differences between methods using tools such as CRISPR-Cas and conventional breeding can also be observed in cases where no additional genes are inserted:

(1) Unlike conventional breeding, genome editing always changes all the copies of a gene at the same time. Conventional breeding, however, usually means that there are still some backup copies present in the genome that can compensate the effect of random mutations. With genome editing there is a specific pattern of change in the plant genome.