Russia joins in global gene-editing bonanza

A US$1.7-billion programme aims to develop 30 gene-edited plant and animal varieties in the next decade.

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Jun 04, 2019
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Russia is embracing gene-editing. A 111-billion-rouble (US$1.7-billion) federal programme aims to create 10 new varieties of gene-edited crops and animals by 2020 — and another 20 by 2027.

Alexey Kochetov, director of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, welcomed the research programme, noting that genetics in Russia has been “chronically underfinanced” for decades. Funding for science plummeted in the 1990s following the break-up of the Soviet Union, and Russia still lags behind other major powers: in 2017, it spent 1.11% of its gross domestic product on research, compared with 2.13% in China and 2.79% in the United States.

But some researchers doubt that the goals can be met on time, and worry that the initiative does not address the other issues they face, such as excessive bureaucracy.

By: Olga Dobrovidova/Nature News

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