Ministers urged to reconsider genome editing regulations in South Africa 2022-02-22
The Executive Council of the GMO Act in South Africa announced in October 2021 that so-called “New breeding technologies” that include genome editing of plants, insects, fungi and bacteria will be regulated as GMOs. Professor James Lloyd (Stellenbosch University), Dr Priyen Pillay (CSIR), and Prof. Dave Berger (MPPI research group, FABI) submitted a letter last week to the Ministers of DALRRD and DHEST asking them to reconsider the regulation. This was backed by a petition of over 200 signatories of local scientists and innovators signing in their own capacity. The largest number of signatories were from the University of Pretoria with strong representation from FABI. In addition, an article was published in The Conversation, titled “South Africa should rethink regulations on genetically modified plants” outlining why the regulation should be revised since it could stifle innovation by local researchers and entrepreneurs.