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New bill to unlock genetic opportunities

13th May 2022 / By Rebecca Veale

The NPA was very pleased to see that Genetic Technology was included in the Queen’s Speech on May 10.

The speech set out the government’s legislative agenda for the next parliamentary year and the inclusion of the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill was welcomed by NPA because of the opportunity it offers the sector.

We understand the Genetic Technology Bill will cover both the application in plants and animals, which is incredibly exciting, whilst we know that the opportunities in plant science will come first, it is something our sector can definitely benefit from.

Genetic technologies such as gene editing offer us the opportunity to speed up the improvements we make from natural breeding – with breakthrough work such as PRRS resistant pigs already having begun we know there is huge benefit to not just for the health and welfare of our pigs, but also the productivity of our national pig herd.

NPA has called for legislative reform to enable the research, and subsequent application, of technologies such as gene editing for a long time (see responses to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics consultation and Defra consultation on this policy in the members area).

Several countries, including some countries the UK is competing with, are further ahead than we are and as such we need to be in a place where producers in this country could take advantage of these opportunities, the bill will allow this to happen.

The benefits won’t be available overnight but the inclusion within the Queen’s speech is a very important step forward.

NPA will continue to engage with Government and wider industry on this policy.