Scientists battle for consumer approval as crop gene-editing revolution advances


Genome, or gene, editing is regarded by scientists as the biggest technical advance in bioscience since “recombinant DNA” technology — where genetic material from more than one source was combined — launched the era of genetic engineering in the 1970s.

….But gene editing gives researchers a fast and reliable way to make precise changes in specific genes. The Crispr-Cas9 procedure is more efficient than previous DNA technology….Agricultural scientists are working on a multitude of gene editing projects, including low-gluten wheat, and peanuts which do not cause allergies.

Those who have campaigned against GM foods are generally opposed to the gene-edited variety, primarily for the same reasons….“Gene-editing crops isn’t a natural process, it’s not well understood,” says Dana Perls, senior food and agriculture campaigner at Friends of the Earth.


Related article:  Podcast: Fighting blindness with CRISPR. Ophthalmologist in groundbreaking study explains how gene editing could treat a once-incurable disease
[A]t Rothamsted Research which focuses on agricultural science north of London, plant biologist Professor Johnathan Napier says that advocates of genetic engineering must explain more clearly what they are doing, and why. “It’s really important for the public to understand what the motivation is for people to do things,” says Prof Napier. “If you don’t fill that part of the narrative, there are plenty of people who are quite happy to do it for you.”

Read full, original article: Gene editing: how agritech is fighting to shape the food we eat (Behind Paywall)

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