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UK Changes Some Gene-Edited Crop Rules

With the passage of a new law, crops that have undergone gene editing to have less of an environmental impact or be more healthful may be ready for sale in the UK within five years, New Scientist reports.

In September, George Eustice, the environment secretary, announced that the UK would be making changes in the wake of Brexit to its regulations surrounding gene-edited crops. The European Union, the Financial Times noted then, treats gene editing like other genetic modifications and strictly regulates it. According to the New Scientist, the new UK rules separate out gene editing from other genetic modifications, and the Guardian notes researchers studying such crops now only have to notify the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of a field test.

Gideon Henderson, the chief scientific officer of the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, tells New Scientist that it would be about five years before any product from one of these trials would make it to the store. He adds there that another law change is needed so that gene-edited food can be grown and sold, and he suspects that crops will be first, followed by livestock.

The Scan

Call for a Different Tack

Experts weigh the value of recent experiments testing genetically modified pig kidneys using brain-dead individuals, according to Nature News.

Wastewater Warning

The New York Times reports that wastewater surveillance in some parts of the US point to a possible surge.

Can't Get in the Program

Due to the Northern Ireland protocol dispute, the European Union is preventing UK researchers from joining the Horizon Europe research program, the Times of London reports.

Science Paper on Spatial-Controlled Genome Editing

In Science this week: approach to enable a CRISPR-Cas13a-based system to be used as a cancer therapy.