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Speeding Gene-Edited Crops

With new trial rules, China is easing the way for gene-edited crops there, Reuters reports.

China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued new guidelines this week that will speed the path of gene-edited crops to production, with the aim of improving food security there, it adds.

In particular, the new rules say that after a pilot trial, developers can apply for a production certificate for gene-edited crops, Reuters says, noting that genetically modified crops — crops into which genes from other organisms are added — have to undergo additional field trials. Han Gengchen from the seed company Origin Agritech tells it that he estimates that gene-edited crops will get to production faster, in about a year or two, as compared to six years for genetically modified crops.

Reuters adds that the new rules are aimed at changing China's seed industry, which is viewed as "weak link" in China's ability to feed its large population.

The UK has also recently made changes to its rules regarding gene-edited crops that could also speed their arrival to the market there.