Viewpoint: Plant scientists need to engage public on gene editing in agriculture

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Easing the public into being more comfortable with genome-edited food will take more than simply stating facts according to Kevin Diehl.

The director of regulatory product strategy, scientific affairs and industry relations for DuPont Pioneer in America provided the keynote address on the second day of TropAg 2017 in Brisbane [Australia]….

Mr Diehl gave an insight into targeted plant breeding applications of CRISPR-Cas technology.

He described CRISPR-Cas as “very elegant molecular scissors” which allow genome editing that is faster, cheaper and more accurate than previous DNA editing.

Taking a step back from the details of the process, Mr Diehl listed science, regulatory frameworks and social licences as key enablers of innovation.

He said while the science was well covered, the agriculture industry needed to get better at the other two, particularly establishing societal value, trust, and transparency.

“The general public has the right, especially in social media, and the ability to weigh in on these issues,” he said.

“We’ve always thought that data will win the day. How did that work out for GM? Not so well.

“Facts don’t always work. Sometimes you have to listen. You may have to listen to those who don’t agree with you.”

Read full, original post: Plant ‘editors’ need to engage with public

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