Although the USDA has announced it “does not have any plans to regulate plants” that are created through the revolutionary gene editing techniques that have potential to quickly give farmers crops with a wide variety of desirable traits that might otherwise take decades through conventional breeding methods, it is not likely that heavily-funded anti-GMO organizations will sit on the sidelines and watch it happen.
The big difference is that editing a plant’s own genome doesn’t involve the introduction of genetic material from other species, as with the GMO crops now planted on billions of acres worldwide, and which opponents have painted with devil horns, even though there has been not a scintilla of scientific evidence that they pose any risk to human health.
America’s farmers, who have increasingly borne the brunt of consumer disfavor from the fear-based “Frankenfood” campaigns of anti-GMO organizations, have an opportunity through their own organizations and lobbyists to get out in front of image shaping for gene-edited crops.
Leading companies, including Bayer, Monsanto, DowDupont, and Syngenta, are joining in the effort to inform the public about the benefits possible through gene editing — not the least being a less expensive process of getting better varieties into farmer fields without the burdensome regulations that now add years and millions in costs.
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