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Despite the controversy surrounding genetically modified crops, they can be an important tool for developing disease-resistant crops that can eliminate the use of pesticides and reduce crop losses. In a trio of papers published recently in Nature Biotechnology, researchers documented how new, faster methods of isolating genes—and looking in some unexpected places—led them to identify, clone, and transfer disease-resistant genes into soybean, wheat, and potato plants.
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According to Jonathan Jones of The Sainsbury Laboratory in the UK, who contributed to all three projects, it could be five years before these resistant varieties are commercially available. The science, he says, is doable. Public acceptance, however, may be harder to secure.
“My goal is to use genetics to replace the chemical control of crop diseases,” says Jones. “To be able to deliver this solution, we need the societal go ahead. We need people to be comfortable with the idea of moving a resistance gene from one plant to another to address crop disease problems without people getting neurotic about the letters G and M.”
Read full, original post: The Environmentally Friendly Side of Genetically Modified Crops