A new gene-editing toolbox will revolutionize farming and food production.
Whether you know it specifically as CRISPR or “gene editing 2.0,” this technology has already descended upon agriculture and will continue to disrupt plant breeding for years.
These new breeding techniques are distinct from GMOs because they represent a much less invasive process. It’s not unlike the copy-and-paste function on a computer — plant breeders can highlight desirable crop traits, expressed as snippets of genetic code, clip out that code and reinsert it into other breeding lines.
“To describe it in three words: genetic molecular scissors,” says Kan Wang, Iowa State University global professor in biotechnology. “CRISPR is a way to make a plant precisely how you want. And farmers want better varieties and higher yields — that’s the bottom line.”
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