About the topic

Since the invention of agriculture, humans have selected plants to improve their crops. The advancements of genetics and biotechnology have led to more sophisticated techniques of selection. There is public debate about whether advanced techniques (including genome editing) are safe, beneficial and ethical. 

This explanatory note provides an updated scientific overview of new agricultural biotechnologies compared with existing techniques.

This note informed public debate, in particular the Commission conference on Modern Biotechnologies in Agriculture in September 2017. The advisors subsequently published their statement of the regulatory status of gene-edited products