Viewpoint: CRISPR gene editing might quell ‘frankenfood’ fears and win consumer support for biotech

Credit: Brent Warren, Kurt Lawton (Corn) Getty Images (DNA rendering)
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The debate surrounding genetically engineered (“GE” or “GMO”) plants and animals has historically been, and still is, extremely divisive. Anti-GMO activists raise many objections, including two that often resonate with a segment of the public: (1) control of the food supply by a few multinational corporations, and (2) reliance on pesticides.

But what if modern biotechnology could take those two objections out of the debate, as well as directly benefit consumers? Would there be greater consumer acceptance? A new generation of agricultural products that are being created through gene-editing techniques, such as CRISPR and TALENS, certainly have the potential to accomplish that.

Gene editing is cheaper and easier to use than genetic engineering, so academic scientists and new startup biotechnology companies, in addition to multinational corporations, have begun to use these technologies to make new varieties of crops and animals with useful traits. Many gene-edited products in the commercial pipeline are not linked to pesticides and have unique traits that could be of interest to consumers.

If they get to market and consumers recognize the benefits they provide, then gene-edited crops and animals could be the spark to bridge the divide in the GMO debate.

Read full, original article: Gene-Edited Plants and Animals: Can They Bridge the Divide in the GMO Debate?

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