CRISPR is poised to revolutionize biotech crops if politics doesn’t block it

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Back in 2016, I wrote a feature story for Florida Grower magazine on the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 to improve agricultural productivity and maybe even overcome plant diseases like HLB in citrus. At that time, I couldn’t help but wonder and worry if anti-GMO forces would try to conflate the technologies and create another genetic bogeyman. In the past year or so, it has become clear that is exactly what they intend to do.

Editor’s note: Frank Giles is the editor of Florida Grower, a publication covering crop protection, farm management and related topics. 

CRISPR, which stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, was only discovered in 2012, but already there are many research projects underway to unleash the potential of the gene-editing technique …. In agriculture, it could supplant transgenic modification, eliminating the need to introduce foreign DNA into plants to generate input or output traits. That would leave a lot of anti-GMOers without a cause célèbre.

Related article:  Omega-3 fish oil from a plant? GMO camelina could offer sustainable alternative

One of the attributes that make CRISPR and gene editing so potentially impactful is that its research and development is relatively inexpensive when compared to GMO development …. That could open the door for many smaller start-up firms to invent the next great crop innovation. But, the ECJ ruling will force companies to follow the same path GMOs in Europe take, which typically costs about $35 million just to clear the regulations.

Read full, original article: Confused About GMO and CRISPR Technology? Let Science Settle It

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