CRISPR/Cas9 (now referred to as CRISPR) , is a new technology used for highly-targeted genome editing using an enzyme (Cas9) called an endonuclease. The endonuclease cuts the DNA where you target it, and was originally found in a species of bacteria. The European High court ruled on the 25th of July that crops edited with the new gene-editing tool CRISPR should be treated the same as a traditionally genetically modified (GM) organism.
The previous GM directive previously covered organisms who had an entire gene or substantial length of DNA inserted into its genome. Importantly, this directive did not include genome modifications by mutagenesis, like CRISPR. Mutagenesis is where a mutation, an error in the DNA sequence within a genome, is deliberately created, to get a new effect like bigger fruit on crops. But previously, so long as DNA was not added from another source, this was acceptable. Importantly, CRISPR does not add genetic material, it merely enacts a pin-point, highly targeted and guided mutation.
The Tropic Biosciences Team at NRP