[REPONSE] Question prioritaire écrite à la Commission P-000025/2020, du 6 janvier 2020, de Markéta Gregorová, Financement européen de la recherche sur la technologie « gene drive »

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

Texte de la question :

« Gene drive technology is a particular application of the new genetic engineering tool CRISPR Cas9,and is designed to modify, replace or eradicate entire populations and species in the wild. Proposed applications of this technology include the eradication of agricultural pests, disease-transmitting insects and animals, and invasive species, as well as use as a bioweapon for military purposes. Concerns have been raised by both scientists and civil society organisations regarding the  use of this technology due to its invasive, uncontrollable and unpredictable effects.  .

1  Are EU research funds being used to fund research into gene drives?

2  If so, what projects are being funded and which research organisations are involved?

3  How much EU funding has been allocated to each of these projects and at what stage are they at? »

Réponse donnée par Ms Gabriel au nom de la Commission européenne

« Gene drives, using a variety of genetic engineering tools, hold great potential in the field of infectious diseases, vector/pest control, poverty-related diseases, and outbreak preparedness. However, there are still scientific uncertainties, which need to be addressed. Therefore, the EU has supported research in this area, in particular for the prevention of devastating infectious diseases as traditional vector control techniques are running up against environmental and resistance barriers.

During both the 7th Programme for Research and Horizon 2020, six projects researching gene drives with a budget of EUR 25 748 224 have been funded. These projects are the following: TRANSMALARIABLOC (ended 31 May 2013, EU contribution: EUR 2 993 964)(1), INFRAVEC (ended 28 February 2014, EU contribution: EUR 8 499 618)(2), VECSYN (ended 31 January 2019, EU contribution: EUR 1 497 606)(3), INFRAVEC2 (ongoing until 31 January 2021, EU contribution: EUR 9 998 845)(4), ANT-TOX (start date 1 March 2020, EU contribution: EUR 1 498 428)(5) and MOVE (start date 1 February 2020, EU contribution EUR 1 259 763)(6). Details of the research institutions involved can be found under the web links in the footnotes.

All research funded under the EU Research Framework programme must comply with the highest ethical principles as well as relevant national, EU and international legislation. Any release of gene drive organisms into the environment needs to be authorised following a thorough risk-assessment. To date, no application for such authorisation has been made in the EU. »

(1) cordis.europa.eu/project/id/223736/reporting/pl

(2) infravec2.eu/

(3) cordis.europa.eu/project/id/335724/reporting

(4) cordis.europa.eu/project/id/228421/reporting

(5) cordis.europa.eu/project/id/851470

(6) cordis.europa.eu/project/id/852957

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