Policies and Governance for Plant Genome Editing
Genome editing and modification techniques enable breeders to create single point mutations and to insert or delete new DNA sequences at a specific location in the plant genome thus for the first time making possible the precise modulation of traits of interest with unprecedented control and efficiency. The advent of genome editing has evoked enthusiasm but also controversy, creating regulatory and governance challenges worldwide. Plant genome editing could play a key role in developing crops that will contribute significantly to attaining multiple Sustainable Development Goals provided that accompanying the rapid scientific progress also policy and governance problems will be solved. Today, several countries, most of which located in the Americas, have adapted legislations to these technologies or released guidelines supporting the use of genome editing. Other countries are debating the path to come either because there is no clarity on the legal classification or due consensus is hampered by a renewed GMO debate. In recent years (2017–2020), eight countries have introduced guidelines clarifying the legal status of genome edited products and many of those are actively committed to international harmonization of their policies. In this chapter which is mainly based on a recent up-to-date review published by Menz et al. (Front Plant Sci 11(588027), 2020) we provide an overview on the current and potentially future regulatory environment for genome edited plants at national and international level.