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Plant breeders have long been split into two camps: those who use genetic modification, and those who don’t. But if gene editing continues to skirt regulations, that divide may become more of a spectrum than a split. Because, while some breeders are philosophically opposed to using genetic engineering, the red tape and expense involved are often the larger factors keeping them from using the technology.
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There’s the breeding of crops, explains [Charlie Brummer, an alfalfa breeder at University of California, Davis], “then there’s the legal landscape that undergirds everything and that can limit what can be done.” With the patent on CRISPR technology still playing out in courts, the expenses—namely, the possible royalty payments for any resulting seed patents—are not yet fully known.
If it remains affordable, however, technologies like CRISPR could then give breeders a new tool that could in theory greatly speed up the breeding process and potentially be done cheaply, without the oversight generally required for genetic modification. But whether breeders want that door open is a different question.
Read full, original post: Could CRISPR Gene Editing Change the Future of Ag?