June 4, 2020
The RSPCA is strongly opposed to any relaxation of existing regulations in this area on animal welfare and ethical grounds, and because alternative solutions are available for all of the proposed applications of GE.
Genome editing (GE) is a group of technologies that enable an organism’s DNA to be manipulated by adding, removing or altering genetic material at particular locations in the genome. ‘Editing’ an animal’s genome in this way involves procedures that cause pain, suffering, distress and lasting harm. It is an inefficient process, using large numbers of animals to produce a single individual with the desired edit. Despite claims that newer GE techniques (such as CRISPR-Cas9) are much more precise than previous methods, they can still cause unpredictable and unintended changes to the genome, which are only just starting to be reported.