Crop Biotech Update

Biotech Expert Panel: CRISPR Technology Can Transform Agricultural Production

November 20, 2019

During the 8th Session of the Governing Body to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in Rome, Italy on November 14, 2019, a panel discussion on CRISPR technology and its potential to transform agricultural production was sponsored by the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies and U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. The panel of experts told the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization that CRISPR technology has a pivotal role to play in the fight against global food insecurity.

The panelists are Dr. Brian Staskawicz, Scientific Director of Agricultural Genomics, Innovative Genomics Institute, University of California Berkeley; Dr. Matin Qaim, Professor of International Food Economics and Rural Development, University of Goettingen; Dr. Clint Nesbitt, Senior Director of Science and Regulatory Affairs, Food and Agricultural Section, Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

The panel members explained that humans have modified the genetics of plants and animals for thousands of years, and gene editing is the latest innovation in this long-term effort to sustainably produce an abundant food supply. They emphasized that genetic tools such as CRISPR can help reduce pesticide use and pollution and boost food production without using more land and water, natural resources increasingly strained by the growing food demand of expanding populations in the developing world.

For more details, watch the webcast in the FAO website.

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