Oana DimaOana Dima is Science Policy Manager at VIB-Ghent University Center for Plant Systems Biology. In her daily work, she follows up on European and international policies related to crop improvement using new plant breeding techniques including genome editing. In addition, she coordinates the activities of the European Sustainable Agriculture through Genome Editing (EU-SAGE) network, which consists of 150 research institutes and associations across Europe.


European Sustainable Agriculture Through Genome Editing – the role of scientists in policymaking


The EU has set ambitious targets in the Farm to Fork strategy of the Green Deal to make agricultural production more sustainable. Today, in the light of pandemics and the current geopolitical situation, it is even more evident that we need immediate solutions for food security. Genome editing of plants has the potential to make a critical contribution to this transition, as it enables the development of the next generation of crops with high precision and efficiency.

However, the current EU legislation subjects all crop varieties obtained using genome editing techniques to strict GMO regulations, which de facto blocks Europe from using and cultivating these crops. The European Sustainable Agriculture through Genome Editing (EU-SAGE) network, representing researchers from 150 leading European plant science institutes and learned societies, is convinced that Europe needs to enable applications of genome editing through developing science-based policies. I will thus present to you how researchers in Europe are contributing to the policy environment, for instance with the launch of an interactive, publicly accessible online database.