The boundaries of plant breeding
This report from UK group Beyond GM (directed by FCRN member Pat Thomas) presents the results of a world café held in September 2019. The world café brought together people representing a wide variety of practices, beliefs and views on the subject of genome editing in plant breeding, and the conversation covered values, worldviews, ethics, regulation, citizen engagement and more.
Findings of the report include:
- While the co-existence of different farming systems such as agroecology and those using genetically modified organisms was a major talking point and the concept of co-existence was welcomed in principle, there is little clarity on what that might look like in practice.
- Areas of (sometimes unexpected) agreement included:
- Supporters of genome editing generally saw some value in organic plant breeding systems
- Supporters of organic farming saw the value of genomic tools in the context of laboratory-based research
- There was a general willingness to accept that public perceptions of genome editing are not necessarily purely “emotional”, and may be shaped by a complex range of relevant factors and value judgements
Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.