Which is riskier–Pesticides or chemical free, disease free CRISPR gene-edited crops?

Screen Shot at PM
CRISPR gene editing could be used to protect Italy's grape varieties from pathogens. Image: Constantin Stratan/Wikimedia

Ultimately, whether we use CRISPR in agriculture comes down to a handful of questions: Which is better, controlling plant diseases and pests with pesticides, or creating new varietals like a CRISPR’d, mildew-resistant grape? Which is more economical? And do chemical pesticides or gene-edited crops pose more risk to people and the environment?

It depends, in part, on how individual products are made and used and whether they affect unintended targets in the surrounding environment. But experts suggest the new technology is worth exploring.

“We should use all the different tools at our disposal to try to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals that we use to produce the food that we eat,” [Greg Jaffe, biotechnology director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest] says. “Whether that’s using genetic engineering, DNA editing techniques, or integrated pest management, there are a lot of tools that can be used separately or in combination to help reduce the environmental footprint for agriculture. To the extent that a technique is safe, we should be open to using that technology.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Editing Out Pesticides

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