A recent report highlights the need for a more favorable regulatory environment for gene editing in agricultural animals. Recommendations have been compiled by a group of experts assembled by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The task force details the many regulatory challenges inhibiting development in the area of gene editing in livestock.
The AAVMC/APLU Gene Editing in Agriculture Task Force Report outlines four comprehensive recommendations. One recommendation is to make a distinction between gene editing applications and transgenic-based GMOs to allow for individual regulation. The task force also supports updates to the regulatory framework of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better align with current gene editing advancements. The authors of the report also call for a more coordinated approach from the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for assessment and approval.
The task force also seeks better categorization of gene editing applications in the assessment process that is based on the potential outcome of the practice. Other recommendations include the development of a regulatory channel of approval for gene editing in agricultural animals when the genomic structures could have been achieved naturally. Each of the recommendations was put forth in an effort to bring more science-based regulation to the area of gene editing.
“Development and widespread adoption of innovation in livestock, poultry and fish production can have significant positive impacts on the strength of the food supply as well as economic prosperity of the U.S.,” the authors state in the report. “By integrating the considerations of academic thought leaders and scientists, federal regulators and policy makers, livestock producer and industry representatives, a fact-based public narrative and streamlined, cost-effective regulatory landscape can be developed that will allow the potential of gene editing in livestock to be actualized, thereby addressing real world challenges with food security now and over the next 100 years.”