The Scottish Conservatives support allowing farmers to access gene edited crops which have the potential to reduce plant diseases and decrease the use of fertiliser. They differ from genetically modified crops as DNA from another species is not introduced. Instead, with gene editing better traits from the same species are selected which is similar to traditional breeding methods but allows the improvements to happen quicker. Experts in the field, including at the Roslin Institute and the James Hutton Institute, as well as farming industry representatives in Scotland have expressed their support for gene edited crops.
Unfortunately, the SNP-Green Government’s refusal to support the Gene Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill flies in the face of expert opinion. In addition, at a time when so many are struggling through a cost-of-living crisis, allowing gene edited crops could yield real benefits through lower food prices in years to come. The Scottish Conservatives believe that it is time for Scottish Ministers to finally listen to experts and ensure gene editing is allowed to proceed in Scotland.