Impact Factor 3.677

The world's most-cited Plant Sciences journal

This article is part of the Research Topic

Plant Genome Editing – Policies and Governance

Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01884

Precaution, Responsible Innovation and beyond – in search of a sustainable agricultural biotechnology policy

  • 1Austrian Academy of Sciences (OAW), Austria

The recent ruling by the European Court of Justice on gene edited plants highlighted regulatory inadequacy as well as a decades-old political problem, namely how to reconcile diverging expectations regarding agricultural biotechnology in Europe. Over time, regulators had tried out various tools to address concerns and overcome implementation obstacles. While initially focussing on risk (with the Precautionary Principle), they later tried to better embed technology in society (e.g. through Responsible Research and Innovation). The PP got criticised early-on; meanwhile, it seems to have lost much of its salience. RRI is associated with problems of participation and political impact, often rendering it a public awareness tool only. We discuss problems with both approaches and conclude that also RRI falls short of facilitating technology implementation in the way regulators might have had in mind. Rather than leaving political decisions to technical risk assessment or ethics and public awareness, we argue for re-establishing a broad yet sober process of opinion formation and informed decision-making in agricultural policy.

Keywords: Biotechnology policy, European Union, GMO regulation, gene editing, precautionary principle, Responsible research and innovation

Received: 28 Aug 2018; Accepted: 05 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Stephan Schleissing, Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Reviewed by:

Matthias Braun, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
Bernhard Gill, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Bogner and Torgersen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Helge Torgersen, Austrian Academy of Sciences (OAW), Vienna, Vienna, Austria, torg@oeaw.ac.at