Gene Editing: A Potential Game Changer for Crop Agriculture

February 2019

Key Points

  • Gene editing is a suite of technologies that make targeted changes to DNA quicker and more precisely than traditional genetically modified organism (GMO) technologies.
  • Unlike GMO technologies, gene editing does not necessarily involve a transgene (i.e., gene from another species) and produces a genetic makeup that can be achieved in nature or via traditional non-GMO techniques.
  • Development costs and time are significantly reduced using gene editing, which will increase the pace of innovation in crop agriculture.
  • Gene-editing technologies offer solutions to critical food and agriculture challenges, including labor and water shortages, disease and chemical resistance, environmental sustainability, climate change, food waste, food security, taste, and nutrition.
  • Consumer acceptance could impact the pace of adoption and innovation.
  • Gene-edited crop commercialization is intensifying. Corn, soybeans, and other large-acreage crops will lead in commercialization. Specialty crops will lag behind, likely taking five or more years before widespread commercialization is achieved.

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