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UK to Change Gene-Editing Regulations

With its departure from the European Union, the UK is set to loosen its regulations surrounding gene-edited crops by the end of the year, the Financial Times reports.

It notes that the EU treats gene editing like other genetic modifications and has strict regulations governing them. Those rules require, for example, a number of field trials and food safety tests, BBC News adds.

But George Eustice, the environment secretary, is to announce a number of upcoming changes to UK policy in the wake of Brexit, FT reports. For instance, crop researchers will no longer have to apply for a license to conduct field trials and will instead only have to notify the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs of any trials, according to the BBC. Additionally, it notes that new legislation is then to be introduced to change the regulation of gene-edited crops so that it is more similar to how new crop varieties are overseen. FT adds that ministers also hope to relax regulations surrounding the gene-editing of livestock.

"Adopting a more proportionate and enabling approach to regulation will open up increased opportunities for international research collaboration, inward investment, and technology-based exports, bringing a major boost for UK science," Helen Sang from the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh tells the BBC.