Gene Editing and Agriculture
Farmers play an integral role in addressing some of society’s greatest challenges from preventing hunger to improving health and sustainability, and new technology and innovation helps us fulfill that mission. Gene editing is an important tool that can unlock tremendous benefits for consumers and the environment, and help farmers grow healthier, more sustainable food, fiber and fuel.
What Is Gene Editing?
Gene editing is a method of selective breeding, a practice as old as our need to grow our own food. Farmers have always bred crops and animals to draw out traits that make them more wholesome and sustainable.
Typically using a plant’s or animal’s natural DNA, scientists use gene editing technology to make precise changes that could otherwise happen through traditional breeding but would have taken much longer.
Benefits of Gene Editing
For our health … by removing allergens, reducing saturated and trans fats, and enriching nutrients in popular crops and commodities, such as peanuts, eggs and wheat.
For our environment … by breeding crops resistant to disease, drought and insects, allowing farmers to reduce pesticide use and conserve water.
For animal welfare … by eliminating the threat of diseases like PRRS (a devastating illness in pigs), creating natural immunity, and improving the overall health of livestock without the need for antibiotics.
For reducing food waste … by breeding fruits and vegetables, like apples and potatoes, with a natural resistance to bruising and browning, extending use and shelf life.