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Gene Editing Has the Potential to Transform the World’s Food System
Less expensive and easier to use than other plant breeding methods, CRISPR has been labeled by many, including CRISPR pioneer Rodolphe Barrangou, as a “democratizing tool” that could transform the world’s food system for the better.
Barrangou claims the value proposition for gene editing technologies like CRISPR is real and immense: “It’s not just feeding the world. It’s having a more sustainable planet. It’s having a more efficient use of our land and water and resources.” He says the technology’s success, however, depends on whether consumers will accept it.
Gene editing technologies like CRISPR can be used across the agriculture spectrum, from row crops to niche fruits, to bring substantial benefits to consumers and farmers across the globe, while also minimizing agriculture’s environmental impact.
The technology can be used to develop faster-growing tomatoes adaptable to a variety of climates, anti-browning mushrooms aimed at reducing food waste and a domesticated variety of groundcherry that provides a boost to crop diversity. It can also be used to create high-yield and disease-tolerant crops that require less water and other inputs to thrive, which is beneficial to the environment.