Gene editing most innovative agricultural development in 30 years, USDA senior scientist says

crispr food

With climate change, an increase in animal diseases and more demanding consumers wanting fewer antibiotics to be used, future agricultural production will need to change, but is genome editing part of the solution?

In a bid to assess how the mind-set is changing All About Feed speaks exclusively with Diane Wray-Cahen, Senior Science Advisor for agricultural biotechnologies at the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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Diane Wray-Cahen. Credit: USDA

What do you feel are the real benefits of gene editing in plants/livestock?

While genome editing is certainly not a silver bullet for solving all agricultural challenges, in my opinion, it is the most promising and innovative technology for agricultural breeding that I have seen in the last 30 years. It has the potential to reshape how we use agricultural biotechnologies as part of conventional breeding programs, combining it with the information gained from crop and livestock genome sequencing.

Related article:  Gene drives reach their next frontier: Mammals

Because certain tools of genome editing, such as CRISPR-Cas9, can be used in various species and cost less than other technologies, researchers all over the world are using genome editing technologies to develop solutions to agricultural problems, be it in Brazil, Australia, Kenya or India.

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