GeneBEcon Progress Review Meeting Held with European Commission and External Reviewer

On May 21st, 2024, GeneBEcon partners met with the European Commission and an External Reviewer to evaluate GeneBEcon’s progress and achievements. This meeting provided an opportunity to look back at the first half of the project and assess milestones reached so far. To share some of our moments during these first 18 months, we developed a video showcasing our events and research activities, including highlights from our work with microalgae and potatoes in our labs. Tomorrow, the project team will look forward to upcoming plans during the online consortium meeting.

New Poultry Science Paper: ´´Pulsed electric field (PEF) processing of microalga Chlorella vulgaris and its digestibility in broiler feed´´

One way to improve the bioeconomy is by adding microalgae, such as biomass, to animal feed, which can potentially enhance animal health and nutrition by releasing bioactive molecules in the intestinal tract. The digestibility of Chlorella vulgaris and its impact on the overall digestibility and biobased impact of broiler feed represent a first step in assessing its characteristics as a feed supplement. Various methods can be used to increase the digestibility of the algae. Methods such as pulsed electric fields (PEF) and freezing were assessed to disrupt autotrophic (A) and heterotrophic (H) Chlorella vulgaris cells to increase their availability and impact, followed by in vivo trials. Pulsed electric fields were shown to have disruption efficiencies of 83.90% and 79.20% for heterotrophic and autotrophic C. vulgaris, respectively, demonstrating significant biobased impact.

Read more here.

GeneBEcon’s Debut Newsletter in NGTs Research for Potato and Microalgae and Highlighting Activities

GeneBEcon 1st newsletter
GeneBEcon 1st newsletter

GeneBEcon, funded by the European Commission, has launched its inaugural newsletter, showcasing groundbreaking advancements in New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) research for potato and microalgae. Through collaborative efforts, the GeneBEcon consortium partners have devised approaches to harness the potential of NGTs, revolutionizing sustainable practices in agriculture and biotechnology.

Key Highlights:
1. NGTS Research in Potato and Microalgae
2. GeneBEcon collaboration and approach to get benefit from NGTs
3. GeneBEcon’s 18-Month Highlights

GeneBEcon’s inaugural newsletter provides an overview of its efforts in New Genomic Techniques research and application. By harnessing the collective expertise of its consortium partners and pushing the boundaries of scientific innovation, GeneBEcon is poised to lead the way in shaping a more sustainable future for agriculture and biotechnology. Stay tuned for more updates and breakthroughs from GeneBEcon!

Read GeneBEcon’s 1st Newsletter here.

How should the products of New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) be regulated in the EU?

The European Union (EU) is at the forefront of discussions regarding the regulation of products derived from New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), such as CRISPR-Cas9. GeneBEcon through this policy brief aims to provide insights into key regulatory, technical, social, and ethical considerations relevant to the ongoing EU discourse. Drawing upon the comprehensive report published by GeneBEcon, this brief offers guidance for policymakers, developers, and stakeholders involved in shaping the regulatory landscape for NGT products within the EU.

This Policy Brief is based on an extensive report by GeneBEcon, read more here.

Read “GeneBEcon Policy Brief – New Genomic Techniques Policy Directions” here

Read the Press Release here.

GeneBEcon’s 2nd RRI Workshop on NGT Challenges

On February 21, 2024, in Brussels, GeneBEcon organized the 2nd Responsible Research & Innovation Workshop to address weaknesses and threats associated with New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), identified during the 1st RRI workshop in November. Participants collaborated to devise I-SMART* actions aimed at transforming challenges into strengths and opportunities.
The workshop, organized by GeneBEcon, centred on leveraging NGTs for agricultural and aquacultural solutions, aligned with the European Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan. The overarching objective was to employ Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) principles to craft an NGT Transition Action Plan, enhancing NGT desirability and value in agricultural and industrial sectors.
The workshop facilitated continued collaboration in defining NGT transition actions, aiming to address the identified weaknesses and threats while maximizing the potential of NGTs in fostering sustainable agricultural practices and supporting environmental goals outlined in the European Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan.


*I-SMART: I = Impact on social objective, Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-bound

GeneBEcon Midterm Symposium held in Brussels on 20th, 2024!

On February 20th, 2024, the GeneBEcon Midterm Symposium was held in Brussels, the seat of the current New Genomic Techniques (NGT) EU legislation discussion. With close to 80 attendees, comprising project partners, stakeholders from various agri-food value chains, and policymakers, the event marked a significant milestone in advancing the dialogue surrounding NGTs legislation and the transformative potential of sustainable agriculture.

Throughout the event, participants explored the project’s progress, with sessions dedicated to dissecting the implications of different regulatory options on biosafety data requirements and socio-economic dynamics. Case studies showcasing tangible applications of NGTs, including virus-resistant potatoes and microalgae for high-value compound production, underscored the potential of these technologies to drive innovation in the agri-food sector.

A highlight of the symposium was the interactive dialogue on consumer choice drivers, which provided a nuanced understanding of the factors influencing public perception and acceptance of NGTs. Amrit Nanda, Executive Manager of Plants for the Future and the event’s organiser, emphasised the importance of diverse stakeholder engagement in shaping impactful outcomes.

Get more information about the Midterm Symposium here

Read the Midterm Symposium Press Release here

EU Parliament adopts legislative proposal for NGTs

“This proposal provides more legal predictability and an enabling framework for category 1 NGT plants, such as the ones being developed in the project. With GeneBEcon, we can contribute scientific data to the upcoming discussions, particularly for the implementation regulation, which will be developed once the final legislative text is adopted both in the EU Council and Parliament.” says Dennis Eriksson, coordinator of GeneBEcon and Associate Professor at the Department of Plant Breeding, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

The European Parliament has voted in support of a proportionate regulatory approach to New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) by the EU Parliament’s Plenary session. The legislative proposal recognizes that some NGT plants are as safe as conventionally bred plants and will only be assessed based on their equivalence with the latter. The legislation recommends a verification process, ensuring a science-based approach where competent authorities assess the molecular characteristics of NGT plants. This process determines if they belong to Category 1 or Category 2 (NGT plants that do not meet equivalence criteria and must undergo an adapted risk assessment).

This new proposal will create an enabling regulatory environment for the use of NGT plants by agrifood value chain players and consumers. With examples like an NGT potato with improved starch quality and resistance to a virus, and a microalgae producing high-value compounds, the GeneBEcon consortium is assessing the impact of regulatory options on the feasibility, safe use, and business case for such products in the EU. This approach is essential to ensure the safe use of these products and the continued progress of scientific innovations.

GeneBEcon’s press release can be found here.

Get more information on the Legislative Proposal here.

 

 

 

 

Plant Breeding with New Genomic Techniques, which is the best option in the EU?

Image of GeneBEcon project feature potatos with the question Plant breeding with New Genomic Techniques, Which is the best option in the EU?

CORDIS has released an article featuring GeneBEcon’s scientific publication that has been published in Nature Plants. The first peer-reviewed scientific article prepared by partners of the GeneBEcon consortium, “Options for regulating new genomic techniques for plants in the European Union” describes a range of options for regulating plants derived from New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) in the European Union (EU) and assesses their respective impacts on biosafety data requirements, the likelihood of uptake and overall socio-economic implications.

The CORDIS article highlights the study’s aim to assist political decision-makers in forming a clearer picture of the available options for regulating NGTs for plants in EU in the current debate on a draft law by the Commission. – In the study, the GeneBEcon scientists concluded that the best option would be to focus on plant traits with sustainability benefits. This is “the best way to contribute to climate protection and the transition to climate neutrality and to immediately integrate sustainability into all food-related policy areas,” stated the study lead author, Prof. Dr Kai Purnhagen from the University of Bayreuth, Germany.

With the recent positive vote by the European Parliament on the Commission’s legislative proposal for New Genomic Techniques, GeneBEcon sees this as a significant step towards fostering innovation in plant breeding for a sustainable EU agriculture and food system.

GeneBEcon’s scientific article can be found here.

Get more information on the CORDIS article here

 

 

 

Peer-reviewed scientific article by GeneBEcon Consortium: “Options for Regulating NGTs for Plants in the EU”

The first peer-reviewed scientific article prepared by partners of the GeneBEcon consortium is published in Nature Plants. The article, “Options for regulating new genomic techniques for plants in the European Union” describes a range of options for regulating plants derived from New Genomic Techniques (NGTs) in the European Union (EU) and assesses their respective impacts on biosafety data requirements, the likelihood of uptake and overall socio-economic implications.

More information on the article can be found here.

GeneBEcon’s press release on the article can be found here.

 

The 1st Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) Workshop Online on November 9th, 2023

In a significant step towards fostering Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), the GeneBEcon project has conducted its 1st RRI Workshop. The primary objectives of the RRI workshop series are to openly deliberate on the “Motivational Factors for NGTs and Framing an NGT Future” with the overarching goal of formulating an NGTs Transition Vision and Action Plan. The workshop aimed to initiate the co-creation process, working towards establishing this goal. The GeneBEcon RRI workshops are organised and facilitated by the GeneBEcon partner, XPRO Consulting Limited following its method of the RRI Roadmap ãä and in close collaboration with the GeneBEcon partner, EV ILVO.

 

Aiming to instil trust in New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), the workshop focused on creating awareness and ensuring transparency in research and innovation activities and their outcomes. The workshop’s success was underscored by the active participation of stakeholders committed to contributing to the responsible advancement of genomic technologies.

 

The inaugural RRI workshop witnessed an insightful co-creation activity where participants used a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis approach to comprehensively discuss New Genomic Techniques. Through this approach, participants identified the internal and external factors affecting NGTs desirability for use and proposed innovative ideas for actionable strategies, which will be expanded in enriched in the upcoming RRI workshops.

 

GeneBEcon thanks all participants who dedicated their expertise and collaborative efforts during the workshop. The success of this event marks a crucial step forward in building a foundation of responsible and transparent practices within the realm of genomic research and innovation. The GeneBEcon project looks forward to continued collaboration and engagement as it progresses towards developing a robust NGT Transition Vision and Action Plan.”