CRISPR gene editing could improve crops, animals in Sub-Saharan Africa, but public education is key

south africa farm
Credit: Chelsea Watson/Aesthetic of Lostness

…. (CRISPR) technology has enabled genetic engineering feats previously considered impracticable, offering great hopes for solutions to problems facing society. We consider it timely to highlight how CRISPR can benefit public health, medicine, and agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa [SSA] ….

Crops and animals in SSA also face many pests and pathogens. Breeding programs attempt to tackle these but have so far achieved little. CRISPR could help breeders in SSA to produce improved farm animals or crops with pest/disease resistance or other desirable traits. Exploitation of CRISPR to modify different plants has been demonstrated and the recent genome editing in the tropical staple, cassava sets the stage for greater attempts at realizing food security in SSA.

Related article:  Better livestock breeding could help bring Uganda's farmers out of poverty

Transparency and education of local people are other factors that will affect successful implementation of CRISPR in SSA. Due to societal vulnerability to rumors and conspiracy theories if knowledge of new programs or technologies is lacking, it is important to create adequate awareness and to educate local communities.

Read full, original article: CRISPR in Sub-Saharan Africa: Applications and Education

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