China is making significant strides in becoming a world leader in gene editing, which may potentially move the epicenter of the industry to Asia. Syngenta, controlled by the state-owned China National Chemical, is establishing a gene editing hub in Beijing to further genomics research. It will also incorporate research conducted by Chinese universities. This has started to become a cause of concern for US farmers, researchers and companies that worry that the center of agricultural science may move to China, a country that is developing large-scale farming operations and does not heavily rely on imports, with some experts stating that the shift could increase US dependence on Chinese technology. Between 1990 and 2010, China’s government spending on agricultural research surpassed that of Brazil, India, Japan and the US, reaching over $9 billion in 2013; in contrast, government spending on agricultural science in the US has been on a downward trend since 2009, falling to just over $4 billion in 2013. The trends indicate that the US is decreasing public funding for research, including for gene editing, while China is increasing public funding for research. Although China has historically lagged behind other countries in terms of agricultural science, it is rapidly growing in its gene editing research. The country’s aim to become a leader in gene editing for human medicine and livestock is very possible, especially due to the fewer regulatory restrictions researchers face in China as opposed to the US. Source: Wall Street Journal

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