An outlook on global regulatory landscape for genome-edited crops

Aftab Ahmad, Nayla Munawar, Zulqurnain Khan, Alaa T. Qusmani, Sultan Habibullah Khan, Amer Jamil, Sidra Ashraf, Muhammad Zubair Ghouri, Sabin Aslam, Muhammad Salman Mubarik, Ahmad Munir, Qaiser Sultan, Kamel A. Abd-Elsalam, Sameer H. Qari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The revolutionary technology of CRISPR/Cas systems and their extraordinary potential to address fundamental questions in every field of biological sciences has led to their developers being awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. In agriculture, CRISPR/Cas systems have accelerated the development of new crop varieties with improved traits—without the need for transgenes. However, the future of this technology depends on a clear and truly global regulatory framework being developed for these crops. Some CRISPR-edited crops are already on the market, and yet countries and regions are still divided over their legal status. CRISPR editing does not require transgenes, making CRISPR crops more socially acceptable than genetically modified crops, but there is vigorous debate over how to regulate these crops and what precautionary measures are required before they appear on the market. This article reviews intended outcomes and risks arising from the site-directed nuclease CRISPR systems used to improve agricultural crop plant genomes. It examines how various CRISPR system components, and potential concerns associated with CRISPR/Cas, may trigger regulatory oversight of CRISPR-edited crops. The article highlights differences and similarities between GMOs and CRISPR-edited crops, and discusses social and ethical concerns. It outlines the regulatory framework for GMO crops, which many countries also apply to CRISPR-edited crops, and the global regulatory landscape for CRISPR-edited crops. The article concludes with future prospects for CRISPR-edited crops and their products.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11753
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2021


  • CRISPR crops
  • CRISPR/Cas 3
  • Genome editing 2
  • Global regulations 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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