Much of the controversy around genetically modified crops is driven by images of mad scientists in white coats and the belief that the process of moving genes from one species to another is "unnatural".
While many of the fruits and vegetables sold in any grocery store look nothing like their wild ancestors, most of these changes didn't occur in a laboratory.
New research shows some 1 in 20 flowering plants are actually naturally transgenic. As well, over thousands of years, plant breeders have selected plants with superior, desirable traits.
The most advanced of these breeding methods is called CRISPR (which stands for 'clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats'). This process enables researchers learn what genes do by switching them on or off, or by cutting them out of the DNA in a cell entirely.
Since it appeared in 2012, CRISPR has completely transformed the way that researchers edit genes, resulting in important advances in many areas of agriculture.
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Technologies like CRISPR also have wide-ranging applications for human health. They can be used to replace faulty genes with healthy ones, and also in drug research. They have also been used remove up to 60 viruses from pig genes, meaning pig organs could one day be used in transplants to replace human organs.
It is clear that these new technologies are essentially no different to what happens in nature, or to breeding processes which have been around for thousands of years.
They therefore pose no risk in terms of impact on human health and safety for the environment.
That's why the federal government has announced that products developed using these techniques will no longer be classed as genetically modified organisms.
However, the state government has decided that these definitions will not apply in Tasmania.
The Minister for Primary Industries, Guy Barnett, announced that regulations under the state's Gene Technology Act would be introduced to ensure that these technologies will be banned under the state's GM moratorium.
The reviews of the moratorium in 2014 and again earlier this year recognised the need for continuous reassessment of the situation.
The inclusion of trigger points to enable regular monitoring and review of scientific developments - like CRISPR - was seen as vital if we are to make the most of our competitive advantages.
The prospect of GM research being conducted here was also seen as a way of ensuring we don't fall behind our competitors.
Gene technologies are simply tools in the toolbox of the modern scientist. Like all tools, application is what matters. All new technologies require review and testing, but concerns should be based on science and evidence, not on myths and misunderstandings.
We should therefore be actively exploring the opportunities these new technologies may open for Tasmanian scientists to get ahead of the pack.