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Uruguay: Animals

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Proposed: No Unique Regulations

Agreements and resolutions support regulating gene edited animals as conventional unless they are transgenic (contain "foreign" DNA).

Uruguay has no specific regulations for gene edited animals. In 2018, Uruguay and 12 other nations, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the US, issued a joint statement to the World Trade Organization supporting relaxed regulations for gene editing, stating that governments should “avoid arbitrary and unjustifiable distinctions” between organisms developed through gene editing and organisms developed through conventional breeding. The ministries agreed to avoid obstacles without a scientific basis for the commercialization of products improved by genome editing, exchange information about products’ developments and applicable regulations and explore opportunities for regional harmonization. The agreement does not specifically mention gene-edited animals, which many countries regulate more strictly than crops.

Besides its agricultural minister, Uruguay does not appear to have a regulatory authority for genetically modified animals. The Uruguayan biosafety framework continues to include only genetically engineered plants and its parts.

Products/Research

  • Sheep with more muscle: Institut Pasteur de Montevideo researchers used CRISPR in 2015 to knock out a gene in sheep that allowed them to grow more and develop bigger muscles.

Regulatory Timeline

2018: Uruguay and 12 other nations, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the US, issue a joint statement supporting agricultural applications of precision biotechnology, stating that governments should “avoid arbitrary and unjustifiable distinctions between end products derived from precision biotechnology and similar end products, obtained through other production methods.”

2018: Ministries of Agriculture of the South Agricultural Council (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) publish declaration stating they would avoid arbitrary and unjustifiable distinctions between agricultural products obtained by gene editing and those obtained through other methods, share information about the development of products and regulatory frameworks, explore opportunities for regional and international harmonization, and work together including with other countries to avoid obstacles.

2011: Cartagena Protocol (an international agreement) ratified, which protects the transport and use of organisms modified by biotechnology.

NGO Reaction

None

Additional Resources