Wetenschap - 28 februari 2012

Cisgenesis just as safe as traditional breeding methods

Cisgenic crops have genes of the same kind engineered into them. They differ from transgenic crops in which unrelated genes are introduced. The latter poses more risks for the environment and public health, says the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). A point of criticism from opposers is that genes of the same kind enter randomly into the genome of the crop during genetic modification. That's right, says the EFSA, and adds that this also happens in conventional breeding.

This statement is crucial for Wageningen breeding researchers who develop cisgenic potatoes resistant against phytophthora and cisgenic apples resistant against apple scab. But it still has to be seen if the EU will translate the EFSA statement into more lenient approval for cisgenic crops. Plantum, the Dutch trade organization for breeding companies, is delighted with the EFSA report. 'This will contribute greatly to innovation in plant breeding.'

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