Agroecology 1 min

Plant genome editing: INRA defines its strategy

PRESS RELEASE - Plant genome editing is a technology that attracts much social and regulatory debate: INRA has defined a strategy for the use of these new techniques to acquire new knowledge and in plant breeding. The principles underlying this strategy are in line with the Institute’s values and with its ambition to contribute to environmental, social and economic progress. INRA developed its strategy based on the recommendations of an opinion issued by the Joint INRA-CIRAD-IFREMER Ethics Advisory Committee in the spring of 2018, along with the opinion of its Scientific Advisory Board, issued last September.

Published on 11 September 2018

illustration Plant genome editing: INRA defines its strategy

What is genome editing?

Genome editing technologies are used to create modifications (point mutations, deletions or insertions) in an organism’s DNA. Site-specific nucleases (e.g. meganucleases, TALENs, Cas9) are used to cut double-stranded DNA into specific target sequences. The process used to repair the cut generates, depending on the method, the inactivation of the target gene by small insertions or deletions, the modification of one or several base pairs in the target sequence, or the insertion of a DNA fragment. It also recently became possible to use deactivated nucleases to create point mutations without cutting the DNA. These techniques make it possible to study gene function and the regulatory sequences driving their expression. In some countries, the techniques are used in plant breeding to precisely modify target genes that determine traits of interest.

On the 25th of July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union classified as genetically modified organisms plants whose genome was modified using genome editing technologies. This means that they are subject to the same process as transgenic plants, including risk assessment, authorisation, traceability and labelling, even in the case of modifications without the introduction of exogenous DNA fragments.

Learn more


Three questions for a springing sprout: Mycophyto

Water and soil pollution, resistant pests, dwindling biodiversity… the adverse effects of pesticides on the environment are well-known. But what if we used natural synergies between plants and the micro-organisms that live in soil to ease through the agricultural transition? Mycophyto, a young start-up based in Sophia Antipolis, proposes effective biological alternatives for farming and landscaping. We sat down to talk with Justine Lipuma, co-founder of Mycophyto.

23 April 2019


WeedElec, from "haute couture" to cutting-edge weeding

Launched at the beginning of 2018 under the aegis of 5 partners – including the EMMAH Joint Research Unit under the joint supervision of INRA and IRSTEA – the WeedElec project combines robots and drones for the detection and control of weeds using electric current. Claude Doussan is a researcher at INRAE Avignon, and presents its genesis and development.

17 December 2019


CA-SYS: a collaborative platform for experimentation in agroecology

Through the CA-SYS platform (Co-designed Agroecological System Experiment), INRA and its partners are designing experiments on innovative and sustainable agroecological systems. This arable infrastructure is using new experimental methods by combining varietal breeding, a minimisation of inputs, the exploitation of biological interactions and the organisation of agricultural space.

28 January 2020