Key Horizon Scanning topics

  • Technical developments and applications of genome editing with a special focus on plants and animals. Genome editing includes the methods and applications of CRISPR / Cas, transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis (ODM) and base editing. In addition, particular attention is paid to scientific articles that describe unintended effects in and emerging from genome-edited organisms.
  • Synthetic biology is a rapidly evolving, heterogeneous field within biotechnology. Due to rapid developments in synthetic biology, there is an increasing expectation that developers will seek to release these organisms. The aim of synthetic biology is to develop and manufacture biological systems with tailor-made functions. For example, it is now possible to synthetically produce chromosomes, including complete genomes.
  • Apart from new developments and applications in new genetic engineering, particular attention will be paid to studies focussed on using these methods to preserve biodiversity and protect nature, but which ultimately aim to change wild populations.
  • A further focus of the horizon scanning process is the investigation of the effects on and interactions with the environment that can arise from the release of genetically modified organisms. The combinatorial and cumulative effects of several genetically modified organisms released simultaneously will also be taken into account.