In a landmark ruling on 25 July, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg City decided that plants created with CRISPR or other gene-editing tools should go through the same extensive regulatory process as earlier generations of genetically modified organisms. The decision caught many regulatory authorities off guard and left those in the United Kingdom and Belgium faced with the question of what to do with field trials already approved and underway. But the verdict‘s impact will go far beyond current trials. Many researchers say it will have a chilling effect on plant biotech. Long skeptical of such technologies, Europe has largely shunned transgenic crops; now, they say, it is set to lose out on another technological revolution. The decision could also hamper basic science and might impede international trade, some observers say.
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