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Gene Editing Falls Under GM, European Court Says

The European Court of Justice has ruled that gene editing is a type of genetic modification, BBC News reports.

Previously, it notes, what was considered genetic modification involved inserting foreign DNA into an organism. By contrast, gene editing is more precise and can involve changing a single base. This, the BBC says, led to uncertainty as to how gene editing would be classified.

But European court has now said "organisms obtained by mutagenesis are GMOs." That means, it adds, that "those organisms come, in principle, within the scope of the GMO Directive and are subject to the obligations laid down by that directive." This ruling means that crops or livestock that have undergone gene editing would be labeled as genetically modified, the BBC adds.

Rothamsted Research's Johnathan Napier tells BBC News that this is "a very disappointing outcome" that would "hinder European innovation, impact and scientific advance."