The Basics

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Innovature? Who is funding the initiative?

Innovature is a platform to engage people in a conversation that is thoughtful, wide-ranging and inclusive of varying viewpoints to realize the benefits of innovation in food and agriculture, including evolving breeding methods.

It is a joint project of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). To learn more about the two organizations, their missions and membership please visit bio.org and betterseed.org.

What is gene editing?

Gene editing is a process scientists use to make targeted modifications to a plant or animal’s DNA in order to strengthen the plant or animal. Gene editing is the most recent breakthrough in a continuum of breeding methods that have been used to develop more beneficial food for centuries. Our growing understanding of DNA allows this to happen in years, rather than decades. In many cases, the changes made through gene editing could happen naturally through an evolutionary process, making the gene-edited plant or animal the same as products developed through other existing breeding methods.

Is gene-edited food safe?

Gene-edited foods are subject to the same rigorous standards as every other food product available in the U.S. today. Ongoing research and development ensures products brought to market meet these standards. Federal agencies responsible for regulating gene-edited products continue to work to ensure the safety of products on the market in the U.S. To review the existing guidelines for bringing food to market, visit the FDA and USDA.

Is a gene edited product the same as a GMO?

No. Both gene editing and genetic modification to produce a GMO are methods used to improve or strengthen a plant or animal, but there are some important distinctions between them. Unlike the process to develop a GMO, gene editing can allow us to work with the plant or animal's own family (without the need to introduce new DNA in the final product). This use of gene editing can reach the same endpoint as more traditional breeding methods, but in years, rather than decades. In many cases, the same changes made through gene editing could happen naturally through an evolutionary process.