Crop Biotech Update

Scientist Expounds on Process and Benefits of CRISPR-Cas9 System in SEARCA BIC Policy Brief

February 27, 2019

Conventional plant breeding using the backcrossing technique can be laborious, expensive, and imprecise. In addition to time and cost limitations, it does not allow transfer of genes between species which are genetically distantly related and sexually incompatible.

With the advances in modern technology, new plant breeding techniques have emerged which not only allow transfer of genes from unrelated species to produce genetically modified organisms (GMOs) but also allow precise and predictable genetic modifications, avoiding the cost and complications associated with sorting through a myriad of genes in conventional plant breeding.

In SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center's (SEARCA BIC) fourth Policy Brief, Dr. Emil Q. Javier, a member of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and Chair of the Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines, Inc. (CAMP), expounds on the CRISPR-Cas9 System, a novel genetic technique which has wide applications in plant and animal breeding as well as in drug development and human gene therapy. CRISPR, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a natural immune defense system found in lower forms of organisms like bacteria and has been tweaked to work in higher plants and animals including man as a precise, relatively quick and affordable method of genome editing.

The 2018 Policy Brief series is produced in partnership with the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines (CAMP), Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office (DA-BPO), Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS), and DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR). For more details, read the full policy brief.