Gene editing: How breeders use CRISPR and TALEN to improve crops, livestock

| | January 19, 2018
piglets today tease a c b ccf c b f today inline large
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Animal and plant breeders are trying out a set of powerful new tools which have the potential to revolutionize agricultural practices and provide consumers with more healthy and safe food options.

[T]wo processes developed in recent years are accelerating breeders’ ability to genetically alter crops and animals and apply the brakes to harmful organisms. Both can precisely improve a plant or animal without incorporating DNA from another species. One process is a mouthful called Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, or CRISPR, and the other is a similarly large swallow called Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases (TALEN).

They are used to insert genes or knock them out, tag their location on a chromosome, correct genetic defects, etc. Thus, scientists hope to use them to benefit human health, first of all, but also to edit the genes of animals, plants, bacteria, fungi, and other organisms. They want to improve livestock breeds and crop varieties, but also eliminate diseases, wipe out pathogens, rein in harmful insects, and more.

Significantly, unlike other traditional gene-editing methods, employing CRISPR or TALEN is cheap, quick and relatively easy for breeders to use.

[R]esearchers [using CRISPR] successfully bred pigs that are not harmed by the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus, a disease that costs North American farmers more than $660 million annually.

CRISPR Cas infographic

Read full, original post: What is gene editing and why should you care?

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
sperm swim

Video: Sperm are ‘spinners not swimmers’—because they are lopsided

Research by fertility scientists in the UK and Mexico challenges the accepted view of how sperm “swim”, suggesting that it ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend