China’s national GM soybean and corn variety certification standard released, biological breeding industrialization continues to advance

On June 8, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs released the National GM Soybean Variety Certification Standard (Try out) and the National GM Corn Variety Certification Standard (Try out), which are required to be observed by the specialized committees of the National Crop Variety Certification Council on the date of issue. 


It is believed within the industry circle that the release of the standards signifies another important step forward in the industrialization of Chinese biological breeding. At present, industrialization of Chinese biological breeding is fully ready, just waiting for a go-ahead. 


Securities research institutions expressed that there are two key steps in the GMO industrialization process. One is the safety certification of GM transformant; the other is the certification of varieties. From 2019 to 2021, corn and soybean varieties were already granted agricultural GMO safety certificate one after another, which means that GM corn and soybean varieties have fulfilled the safety approval requirement. 


The key issue of variety certification lies on the variety certification criteria. In last December, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued relevant rules and regulations on approval of GM crop varieties, which is a big move from experimental stage to the stage of commercialization. 


Today, the release of national GM soybean and corn variety certification standards stands for a further policy support to certification of GM soybean and corn varieties.


To achieve commercialized cultivation, after the safety approval and the variety certification, manufacturers are required to obtain a seed production and business operation license before seed is launched to market. According to an estimation, Chinese GM varieties are expected to be commercially available around 2023. 


The research institutions believe that the sale of GM varieties on the seed market will have the following impacts:


1)Seed prices to increase and the seed industry to expand. Due to the long research and development cycle and the large investment in GM varieties, the intellectual property charge on patented genes will increase and the penetration of GM varieties will become a driver to expansion of seed industry.


2)The industry differentiation to intensify and industry concentration to increase. The GM varieties have a higher requirement on industry entry. In case of a successful market launch, GM technical companies with rich transgenic traits and mature trans-breeding technique, along with the seed companies that have made an earlier market deployment, will gain full benefit. Trait companies will perhaps achieve a profit breakthrough from 0 to 1, whilst the leading seed companies will achieve further increased sales and market share.


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