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.S. to review agricultural biotech regulations

The United States is preparing to modernize the rules that govern inventions in agricultural biotechnology, according to a White House memo released last week. The multiyear review process will clarify the roles of the agencies that determine the safety of genetically altered plants and animals: the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The current framework—last updated in 1992—didn’t anticipate precise gene-editing methods, such as CRISPR, which some argue don’t require the same review as traditional genetic engineering. Meanwhile, new techniques for genetic modification have sidestepped the approval process under the current framework, and many hope the White House initiative will clarify exactly what products need regulating.

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