New plant breeding technologies (NPBTs) are increasingly used for developing new plants with novel traits. The science tells us that those plants in general are as safe as than those once developed using “conventional” plant breeding methods. The knowledge about the induced changes and properties of the new plants by using NPBTs is more precise. This should lead to the conclusion that plants developed using NPBTs should not be regulated differently than those developed using “conventional” plant breeding methods. This contribution discusses the economics of regulating new plant breeding technologies. We first develop the theoretical model and elaborate on the different regulatory approaches being used and compare their advantages and disadvantages. Then we provide a perspectives on EU regulation around mutagenesis-based New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBT), formed by new insights from a survey among Dutch plant breeding companies. The survey measures the attitude of breeding companies towards the ruling of the EU Court of Justice that subjected the use of CRISPR-Cas in the development of new plant varieties under the general EU regulations around GMOs. The results show that plant breeders experience a financial barrier because of the ruling, with perceived negative impact on competitiveness and investments in CRISPR-Cas as a result. The degree of negative impact differs however significantly among seed-sectors and company sizes. One of the most striking results was the relative optimism of companies in the sector about more lenient legislation in the next five years, despite the stated negative effects.
- Court of Justice of the European Union
- Dutch plant breeders
- genetically modified organism
- new plant breeding technologies
- plant breeding sector