United States relaxes rules for GM crops; industry groups welcome the move

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In an effort to ease the path of GM crops to markets, a significant change to US regulations will exempt a few gene-edited plants from government oversight, according to sources.

The new policy has been reportedly published in the Federal Register, which calls for automatic approval of established kinds of GM crops.

The new changes will be effective from 5th April 2021, as per reports.

To recap, GM crops are that type of crops/plants whose DNA has been modified through several techniques, especially genetic engineering.

Industry groups have welcomed the new rule.

“The main good thing is that it will allow certain aspects of gene editing to move forward,” says Kent Bradford, a plant geneticist at the University of California, Davis.

“The new process established by this rule is expected to lead to lower regulatory costs and timeframes for the development of new plant varieties,” the American Soybean Association said in a statement.

Also, APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) would now focus on new traits themselves instead of relying on the technology used to create them.

Notably, the change to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) regulations started during the Obama administration itself.