1. What is the difference between gene editing and genetic modification?
Genetic modification is a broad term. It covers a wide range of tools that include gene editing but mainly refers to the much older technologies where genetic material from elsewhere has been added to the genome of an organism, making it ‘transgenic’.
Gene editing is a new tool (developed in 2013) that can be used for adding new genetic material but also can be used to create subtler changes, such as turning on or off a specific gene to confer an advantage. In these instances no new genetic material is added. The results are identical to those from traditional plant breeding. It is these subtler changes that our policy seeks to make easier to undertake in New Zealand. Regulation of traditional GMO (adding new material) would stay the same.