Gene-Editing Technique CRISPR Has Vast Agriculture Potential

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December 11th, 2018

A new technology called CRISPR, which can isolate and edit specific genes, has vast potential, not only in development and research of evolution, but within the realms of medicine and agriculture as well.

Researchers at George Washington University are currently using CRISPR to study butterfly genomes. However, other uses of the technique have raised ethical questions, particularly a Chinese scientist’s announcement that he had used CRISPR to alter DNA within the embryos of a set of human twins.

The use of CRISPR in plant breeding is not only less controversial than the above but could revolutionize agriculture, an industry that already has its eyes on the technique. Companies are hoping customers will see the value and benefits of CRISPR as much as growers and farmers.

“If you want to feed the planet, 9 billion people, I think we will benefit from accelerated domestication from engineering crops so they are less demanding in terms of resources, less vulnerable to pests or less waste, better use of land and so on,” says Arnault Martin, an assistant professor at George Washington.

For more on this story, visit Harvest Public Media.

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