Biotech Updates

WEF Puts a Spotlight on Genetic Engineering to Combat Climate Change

July 13, 2022

Global food systems feed the global population, but also significantly contribute to climate change. In an article, Kevin Doxzen of the World Economic Forum answered the question, “How engineered crops can fight climate change?”

Genetic engineering is one of the tools used by scientists to adapt to climate change. Improved varieties of rice, maize, and wheat have been developed to withstand extended drought periods and wetter monsoon seasons. Extreme temperatures also contribute to more fungal and pest attacks, and thus, experts have used GE technology to make cassava, potatoes, and cacao disease resistant. Aside from these efforts, GE tools for climate change adaptation are currently used for mitigation.

The following projects involving GE crops are expected to help fight this environmental problem:

  • Innovative Genomics Institute to use CRISPR to improve the ability of plants and soil microbes to capture and store carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency project optimized photosynthesis to make plants 40% more productive, meaning less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • The Harnessing Plants Initiative engineered roots to be sturdier, larger, and deeper, improving their resistance to decomposition and thus, minimizing carbon escape.

Read more from the World Economic Forum.

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