(Photo: Agustina Whelan and Carlos Perez, in the CPIA’s meeting)

Buenos Aires, October 29th. The Biotechnology Directorate, dependant on the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, already examined 18 solicitudes about if a new crop, animal or microorganism obtained by New Breeding Technologies qualifies into the GMO regulation or not. “Only two or three solicitudes were reached by the GMO framework, while the others were not considered as GMO products”, an official from the Biotechnology Directorate, Agustina Whelan said, asked by eFarmNewsAr.com.

Today, the Agricultural Engineers Centre (CPIA) ran a meeting about gene-editing technology in breeding crops. Whelan said unlike what happened with GMO solicitudes, gene-editing permitted that small companies, national companies, and public institutions were able to develop new products, for multiples uses and for more crops than with transgenesis, a technique dominated by large global seed companies and for a few crops, like soybean, corn, and cotton. Also, she said that the rate of adoption of gene-editing is faster than transgenesis.

Whelan is confident that other countries will accept a gene-editing regulatory framework like the Argentine. The country was one of the first in the world, adopting a regulatory framework in 2015. This framework inspired other countries like Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Paraguay. She commented that Argentina is running talkings with counterparts in the European Union to align the criteria over crops obtained by gene-editing or NBT technologies.

Only China remains unpredictable in this issue, but assuming the strong investment the country is working out in this area it is supposed that there would non-sense that China rejects NBT crops in the future.
Meanwhile, the COO of Bioheuris, the local start-up that is developing herbicide-resistant crops by gene-editing, said that it will be impossible in the future to recognize if a grain was obtained by traditional mutation technologies or by biological mutation ones.

Bioheuris is working with soybean, alfalfa, and sorghum and with five herbicides blanks, some of them HPPD, ALS and PPO action modes.

“If someone would want to ban a crop obtained by gene-editing, he or she should ban the same crop obtained by traditional mutagenesis, and this has non-sense”, Perez commented.