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Gene Editing Will Change the Way Americans Eat

While gene editing may sound like something from the future, it’s here and is already having a positive effect on food and agriculture.

Thanks to gene editing and other agricultural innovations, we now have a soybean oil with less saturated fat and a longer shelf and fry life than traditional varieties. Soon, we could have lettuce that can thrive in warmer temperatures – essential in the face of a warming planet; cacao plants, orange trees and coffee beans that are resistant to the diseases and pests that threaten them; and wheat that is higher in essential nutrients, including protein and fiber.

As these products come to market, they will bring with them added benefits to all those along the agricultural pipeline, from farmers to food manufacturers to consumers – and to the planet overall. 

Researchers believe it’s only a matter of time before U.S. grocery store shelves are stocked with gene-edited produce, grains and meat. As these products come to market, they will bring with them added benefits to all those along the agricultural pipeline, from farmers to food manufacturers to consumers – and to the planet overall. 

For example, higher-yielding and more resilient rice would enable farmers to produce more of the grain using less water and land, which would help both the farmers and the environment. 

Gene-editing is also being looked at as a possible solution to the deadly citrus greening disease that is ravaging orange groves from Florida to California. Enhancing the trees to be resistant to the disease would not only protect the fruit, but also the intricate web of people who rely on citrus for their livelihood –from growers and pickers to drivers and juice manufacturers. 

“We see this as the beginning of a 25-year cycle of innovation that will greatly improve agriculture around the world,” said Haven Baker, chief business officer at Pairwise, a North Carolina-based agricultural startup using CRISPR to overcome challenges facing consumers and farmers. 
 

Read more via The Guardian

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