Research and analysis

Genetically modified organisms: the case for new regulations

This report from the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment's questions the current definition of genetically modified organisms.


Why a modern understanding of genomes demonstrates the need for a new regulatory system for GMOs

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This is the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE’s) second report on the EU system for regulating genetically modified organisms (GMO). The report uses up to date knowledge about genomes to point out some limitations in the current framework’s definition of ‘genetically modified’ (GM).

The report questions the scientific validity of the current approach, which is to label GM organisms based on how they were produced rather than on their own qualities. Such a process, it is argued, is ill-equipped to deal with new techniques of genetic modification, many of which are not covered in the framework.

This can lead to inconsistencies, as identical organisms can be labelled GM or non-GM depending on how they were made.

The committee’s conclusion is that this ‘process-based’ approach is less scientifically accurate than an ‘evidence-based’ approach.

Published 27 August 2013