GMO news related to Switzerland

14.05.2016 |

New Plant Breeding Techniques – Ethical Considerations

March 2016

Swiss Confederation

Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology ECNH

In recent years technologies have been developed or employed in plant breeding which have replaced genetic and conventional techniques, and combinations of the two; these are known collectively as (NPBTs). As with methods in genetic engineering, NPBTs can also be used to modify the genome of a plant. This means new characteristics can be created; for example, a plant’s components can be altered to generate resistance to disease, infestation by insects or weed killer. NPBTs have become increasingly important in crop research and development. Like other methods in breeding technology, NPBTs do not cover the whole of the breeding process. They are used in the laboratory at the beginning of

the process. A large part of the work in plant breeding takes place outdoors in the field, where the plant reacts to its environment, and new characteristics must be tested for biological stability in a “real-life” situation.