Why do we want CRIPR-CAS to be deregulated in Europe?

  • The potato starch value chain only exist in Europe, historically potatoes where an important source of starch in Europe and wheat and corn played a minor or no (corn) role at all. Around 11.000 farmers grow starch potatoes and ~ 3.000 people directly work in this industry. Despite the high importance of the potato starch industry in certain region in Europe it remains a relatively small crop. This makes the crop unattractive for breeders to invest in as the return in other potato types (French fries and table) are much larger crops and offer potentially a higher return.
  • The starch potato industry is mainly run by cooperatives that are farmers owned.
  • The productivity of starch potatoes stagnates since many years and the constraints in use of fertilizers, crop protection in combination with increased cost of machinery makes it difficult to earn a living with this crop. This bears the realistic risk that in certain regions starch potatoes are replaced by corn or other commodity crops.
  • If the yield of starch potatoes can be increased via gene-editing, the crop protection use can be reduced and maybe even the quality of the starch can be improved, competitiveness can be maintained, and this industry survives and contributes towards the goals of the Green Deal. With regulated CRISPR-Cas this will be much more difficult and lively agricultural regions will become less vital.
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