May 5, 2023
China approves safety of gene-edited soybean
China has approved the safety of a gene-edited soybean, its first for the crop technology, with higher levels of oleic acid, World-Grain reported.
Shandong Shunfeng Biotechnology developed the soybean, which contains two modified genes.
According to a document published last week by China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the safety certificate has been approved for five years beginning April 21.
Unlike genetically modified organisms, which introduce foreign genes into a plant, gene editing modifies existing genes. Gene editing is regarded as less dangerous than GMOs and is less regulated in some countries.
Shandong Shunfeng Biotechnology said it is China's first company attempting to commercialise gene-edited crops. The company is working on another 20 gene-edited crops, including higher yielding rice, wheat and corn, herbicide-resistant rice and soybeans, and vitamin C-rich lettuce.
US-based company Calyxt developed a high oleic soybean in 2019, yielding a healthy oil that was approved as the first gene-edited food in the US.
Before Chinese farmers can plant the gene-edited soybeans, several steps must be completed, including seed variety approvals.