CRISPR-edited crops could help avoid famine as global food demand grows

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A Bolivian farmer works to harvest his corn crop
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Just like human beings, plants get sick. Microorganisms such as fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, viruses and nematodes (tiny worm like organisms) can infect their plant hosts, with deadly consequences….Losses due to plant disease can have tremendous consequences for food security. One of the most famous examples in history is the Irish Potato Famine. A disease called Late Blight devastated potato crops in the 19th century. This resulted in mass starvation and emigration from Ireland.

Overall, generating a disease resistant crop variety can take a decade, or more. But, when we have a devastating disease to a major crop, we need a solution, and fast.

[G]enetic engineering will be the future of generating disease-resistant crops. Remember that one in a million, naturally resistant plant that is required to generate resistant crops using plant breeding today? What if scientists could create that resistant plant?

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Well, by using a technique called CRISPR scientists can….The CRISPR process in bacteria works like this: Bacteria save virus DNA sequences within their genome in regions of their DNA at some point in their recovery process….

Read full, original article: The future of plant disease management

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