GMO news related to United Kingdom

28.04.2021 |

Gene editing and the Seed Goliaths

Early in 2021, DEFRA ran a consultation on gene editing, focusing in large part on whether gene-edited organisms (GEOs) ought to be distinguished from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in law, allowing gene-edited technologies to be liberated from GMO regulations. DEFRA stated in its press release that these new gene-editing technologies will ‘help the UK reach its vital climate and biodiversity goals in a safe and sustainable way.’ But what guarantees can we have that this will be the primary goal of the sector?

This blog considers whether deregulation of genetic editing could be yet another example of policy bias in favour of large business and technological quick-fixes over more sustainable, more democratic alternatives.


If DEFRA’s ambition is to reach the UK’s biodiversity and climate goals, ceding more power to agribusiness is neither the only, nor the most obvious solution. A transition, instead, to more agroecological farming relies on giving power back to the farmers to be stewards of agrobiodiversity and of nature’s vital genetic resources.

Bella Driessen is Research Officer at the Food Research Collaboration, based at the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London.