Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities
Study: Can new genome editing techniques enable sustainable growth in Finland and Europe?

Government analysis, assessment and research activitiesMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
21.5.2021 9.40
Press release 325/2021
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to a study published on 21 May, new genome editing techniques show great potential for use in plant breeding, livestock breeding and medical treatments from the perspective of beneficial applications and financial gains alike.

That said, the transition from using genome editing in basic research to its use in applied research and development will not be possible unless new genome editing technologies are exempted from the scope of the legislation on genetically modified organisms in the EU. Another factor hindering the use of genome editing in the European market is consumers’ negative stance towards gene technologies in general. To overcome these challenges, we need to increase dialogue between the research field, the authorities and the public.

Main findings and proposals for action

In line with the wishes of researchers and the business community, the development of regulation for new genome editing techniques should be guided by the opportunities these technologies present. Deregulation would bring about new and experimental business and promote the development of various new innovations and solutions. 

Another alternative would be information-based regulation, in which the development of regulation is guided by the principle of promoting fair development. Multilevel regulation ensures diverse observation of the effects of genome editing and the balanced distribution of its benefits, while also taking into account risk management. 

The study recommends teaching the basic principles of new genome editing techniques as part of secondary education. Increasing people’s understanding of genome editing would enable them to form a knowledge-based view of the use and applications of the technology. 

The publication is part of the implementation of the Government’s plan for analysis, assessment and research for 2020.

Inquiries:

Nina Wessberg, Senior Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, tel. +358 40 742 8185, [email protected]

The Government’s joint analysis, assessment and research activities (VN TEAS) produce data used to support decision-making, everyday operations and knowledge-based management. They are guided by the Government’s annual plan for analysis, assessment and research. The content of the reports published in the publication series of the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities is the responsibility of the producers of the data in question and does not necessarily represent the view of the Government.