New Breeding Techniques Platform

Below, please find additional background information from the NBT Platform. If you have any questions regarding these documents, please contact us at

European Scientists unite to safeguard precision breeding for sustainable agriculture

Leading scientists representing more than 85 European plant and life sciences
research centers and institutes have endorsed a position paper, by our member VIB, that urgently calls upon European policy makers to safeguard innovation in plant science and agriculture. The scientists are deeply concerned about a recent European Court of Justice ruling around modern genome editing techniques that could lead to a de facto ban of innovative crop breeding. Together with the countless statements of European research institutes that appeared online over the last months, this statement is proof of a solid consensus among the academic life science research community in Europe on the negative consequences of this ruling. Read the position paper on the ECJ ruling on CRISPR here. Support this position paper and add your name to the list of signatories here



NBT Platform's position regarding European Court of Justice's ruling on 

Case C-528/16


On Wednesday 25th July, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered its ruling on Case C-528/16 which aims to clarify the legal status of mutagenesis.
The NBT Platform welcomes the ECJ intentions to clarify the regulatory framework around NBTs but regrets to see its conclusions that modern forms of mutagenesis a priori lead to products covered by the EU GMO legislation. Read the full statement here.



Opportunities of New Plant Breeding Techniques

Wageningen UR recently published a nice and concise overview of the potential of NBTs. It presents the opportunities and limitations of NBTs from the point of view of potential applications in plant breeding with promising results for improving agricultural sustainability. The booklet can be found here.



Revision of EU Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products


This document provides a brief summary on the EU policy objective of
developing organic production. While the EU organic market is constantly expanding, only 7 % of total EU agricultural area is used for organic cultivation, and the difference between EU demand and production is covered by growing imports. To overcome the regulatory obstacles to the development of the sector and increase consumer confidence in the EU organic logo, the Commission adopted a proposal in March 2014 for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products, repealing the current framework dating from 2007. Following a series of trilogue meetings, a preliminary agreement was reached and is now awaiting the Council's approval before the new regulation is officially adopted.

EASAC's report on research on food and nutrition in Europe

This report was published by the European Academies Science Advisory Council and calls on the European policy makers to capitalise on the scientific advances in genomics for animal health and productivity as well as for crops. It claims that “breakthroughs in genome editing and other genetic research will be crucial to the future of food and agriculture in Europe”.



Fact sheet on CRISPR applications for the agricultural sector

Very few technologies merit being described as a “game changer” — but a new tool known as CRISPR-Cas9 is surely one of them. This factsheet otlines the resons why CRISPR is so popular and what implication it has on the acricultural sector. 




Study: Regulatory status of NBTs in countries outside the EU

NBT Regulatory study

This study explores the regulatory and legislative status of new breeding techniques in 13 countries outside the EU. The study was conducted by Schuttelaar & Partners in 2013, and was updated during the period
January-June 2015.





Fact sheet on NBTs in general

Fact sheet: NBTs in general (2015)
Several fact sheets were drafted by the NBT Platform, in order to provide stakeholders with a summarised overview of the different techniques, their application and regulatory aspects.  As part of
the revision and update of these documents, a new version of the fact sheet 
on NBTs in general was developed first .




Fact sheet on the socio-economic impact of NBTs 


The plant breeding sector provides innovation in crops for the food supply chain. However, producing new plant varieties by cross breeding is a lengthy process.  This has an important impact not only on the plant-breeding sector, but also on the food supply chain as a whole. This factsheet highlights the socio-economic impact of NBTs on the whole food supply chain.


Fact sheet on The impact of the EU Commissions’ legal interpretation of

the  Dir. 2001/18/EC on EU breeding companies


Without R&D investment in plant breeding technologies, many of the foods we consume today would not even exist or they would at least not be that healthy or tasty. This factsheet outlines how the development of plant-breeding started centuries ago and New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) are the next step in this continuum. Today, the European plant breeding sector is threatened by the lack of regulatory clarity within the meaning of Directive 2001/18/EC. 

Fact sheet on legal argumentation

Fact sheet: the regulatory status of plants (...)
The fact sheet on legal argumentation gives an overview of the legal analysis that was performed by the NBT Platform, supported by external legal council, in 2013. The analysis looks at the definition of a GMO in Directive 2001/18/EC and whether the EU GMO legislation applies to the products resulting from 
new breeding techniques. This technical legal document, called the Legal Briefing Paper, can be found here.

Study: Legal briefing paper (LBP)

The LBP explains the scope and purpose of Directive 2001/18/EC, which provides a definition of ‘GMO’ (Genetically Modified Organism) and ‘non-GMO’. The analysis of the European Directive reveals that, contrary to what is often believed, a GMO is defined by a combination of the process (techniques of genetic modification) used to generate the plants and the characteristics           of the resulting product (the plant itself). 



EASAC's Statement on NBTs  

The European Academies' Science Advisory Council is formed by the national science academies of the EU Member States to provide independent scientific advice to European policy-makers. In June 2015, the EASAC published an official Statement that highlights the benefits associated with the use of NBTs as they enable precise, targeted, reliable changes in the genome  and have significant potential for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and food security.

EPSO's Statement on NBTs

The European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO) is an independent academic organisation that represents more than 226 research institutes, departments and universities from 30 countries in Europe and beyond. EPSO's mission is to improve the impact and visibility of plant science in Europe. In February 2015, the EPSO published a Statement that points out how crop genetic improvement technologies are crucial for a sustainable and productive agriculture.

BBSRC's position on NBTs

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is a UK research Council and is the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience. It predominantly funds scientific research institutes and university research departments in the UK. In October 2014, the BBSRC has published a Statement that sets out the current landscape of novel genetic techniques, recognising that the techniques are already widely used in research and that the regulatory processes for new crops will need to be able to accommodate them.

Fact sheets on the different techniques

Several fact sheets were drafted by the NBT Platform, for the most part in 2013, in order to provide stakeholders with a summarised overview of the different techniques, their application and regulatory aspects. The fact sheets are currently being revised and updated, but the original versions can be found below: