Parliamentary questions
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24 June 2016
Question for oral answer O-000097/2016
to the Commission
Rule 128
Sylvie Goddyn, Mireille D'Ornano, Jean-François Jalkh, Dominique Martin, Dominique Bilde, Marie-Christine Arnautu, Bernard Monot, Steeve Briois, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, Mylène Troszczynski, Marie-Christine Boutonnet, Marine Le Pen, Matteo Salvini, Mara Bizzotto, Mario Borghezio, Lorenzo Fontana, Stanisław Żółtek, on behalf of the ENF Group

 Subject: Genome editing technologies: opportunities and risks

New gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9 or NgAgo, give the possibility of changing DNA very easily (replace, delete, add sequences…), even for humans, at low cost. Those technologies are recognised as the ‘discovery of the century’ by most of scientists.

While these tools address both the areas of agriculture and health and create new market opportunities, they also raise important ethical issues inter alia regarding limitation of use on human.

In December 2015 in Washington, the Gene Edit summit convened experts from around the world to discuss the scientific, ethical, and governance issues associated with human gene-editing research. Since then, Sweden and England have authorised experiments on genetically modified human embryos.

In the United States, a non-browning mushroom designed with CRISPR has been considered by the administration as not being regulated. Pigs are also used as human organs manufacturers.

While the Commission is late to give its position regarding already obsolete gene-editing systems like zinc-finger nuclease (ZFN) and transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) systems, newer gene-editing techniques are quickly supplanting those old tools.

In this context, does the Commission intend to propose regulating feed and food obtained with gene-editing, produced in the EU and outside? Does the Commission intend to debate the ethical issues with the Member States?

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