“Given the strong investment of the Chinese government in genome editing, we expect the release of a relatively open policy in the coming years,” Rabobank wrote in a December report.
China’s research institutes have already published more research on market-oriented gene-edited crops than any other country, dit het bygevoeg.
The technology’s precision makes it faster than conventional breeding or genetic modification, and also lowers the cost.
Regulation is also less cumbersome in some countries, such as the United States, although the European Union is still reviewing how to regulate the technology.
“This really opens the door for plant breeding. It’s an infinite opportunity to improve crops more precisely and much more efficiently,” said Han Gengchen, chairman of seed company Origin Agritech.
The draft rules stipulate that once gene-edited plants have completed pilot trials, a production certificate can be applied for, skipping the lengthy field trials required for the approval of a GM plant.
That means it could take only a year or two to get approval for a gene-edited plant, said Han, compared with around six years for GM ones.
It is not clear how many companies or institutes are ready to apply for approval of edited products.
Chinese researchers have used gene-editing to create lettuce seeds rich in vitamin C and herbicide-resistant rice, according to a Global Times report.
China’s leadership said in late 2020 the country needed to use science and technology for an urgent “turnaround” of its seed industry, which has long struggled with overcapacity and little innovation.
China imports a significant share of its vegetable seeds and wants to reduce its reliance on overseas breeding.