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Next Gene Editing Steps in Australia

Australia's decision to not regulate some gene-edited regulated plants and animals could lead to faster breeding and new medical treatments, Australia's ABC News reports.

Earlier this month, Australia announced that it would not regulate the gene editing of plants, animals, and human cell lines if no new genetic material is incorporated. This, Nature News reported at the time, was seen as taking a middle path between the tighter regulations of the European Union and the laxer ones of the US.

While ABC News notes that there are still divided opinions among researchers in Australia over whether theirs is the appropriate approach for overseeing gene editing, it adds that gene editing could speed up agricultural breeding as well as the development of new treatments, including for cancer.

It adds, though, that it is still unclear how Australia's food regulator will treat gene-edited products like non-browning mushrooms or hornless cows, and the agency, known as FSANZ, is currently weighing how it will oversee gene editing, which it calls a new breeding technique. ABC News says that many public submissions to the agency are calling for such food products to be labeled.