>> European regulators are putting off deciding how to describe plants like these. After years of conflict over the safety of genetically modified or GM plants, enter gene editing, a new technique sweeping the world of biotech. But should it be subject to the same stringent regulation?>> Barley plants at a research center in the east of England I'm Reuters reported Stuart McDill at the John Innes Centre outside of Norwich.
Some of these plants have been gene edited, some not. You can't tell the difference with the naked eye. Give one to a European regulator, they won't be able to tell the difference either.>> That's the problem scientists say. Professor Wendy Harwood's gene editing is increasing this crop's yield.
She says what she's doing is not genetic modification, because no foreign DNA stays in the plant after the editing process.>> There's no inserted DNA left in that plant. So it's not like GM, where you're actually inserting new genes. With gene editing you're making a small change and there's nothing left in the plants that we've created.
>> Unlike genetic modification, where a gene is added from another organism, gene editing involve targeting a specific gene, then deleting or amending it. The world's first pigs are being edited in the states, making them resistant to a common pig virus. And US consumers will soon be able to buy a mushroom that doesn't go brown.
Examples of why Europe should call this genetic modification, according to molecular biologist, Dr. David King.>> It happens to involve a slightly different set of molecules then are used in conventional genetic engineering. But the results are the same and they are very different. From classical breeding techniques.>> If gene editing ever makes it onto a European farm is up to the regulars and whether or not they impose the same restrictions as GM products.
Two deadlines for that decision have been and gone and no new one has been set.