Crop Biotech Update

Experts Discuss Addressing Public Acceptance of CRISPR in Agriculture and Medicine

June 22, 2022

University of Florida plant geneticist Kevin Folta interviewed agricultural economist Brandon McFadden to compare the differences in regulating CRISPR for agriculture and medicine. The full interview is available in the Talking Biotech podcast.

Gene editing tools such as CRISPR and TALENS allow scientists to make targeted and precise modifications in the DNA. These techniques have the potential to transform agriculture and medicine. However, applications of these technologies depend on the perception and acceptance of the consumers. The applications in medicine are easier to convey to the public compared to those in food because of the palpable need to treat diseases. However, applications in food are equally vital to feed the growing population, especially in areas with rampant hunger and malnutrition.

McFadden, who specializes in understanding the intersection between food, agriculture, and human behavior, highlighted the importance of communicating about CRISPR technology. He said that not all scientists are skilled to communicate with the public, but they must learn how to meet the consumers where they are before engaging in a discussion.

Listen to the podcast from the Genetic Literacy Project.

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