Genome-edited crops and 21st century food system challenges

In-Depth Analysis 13-07-2022

Genome editing is the targeted alteration of a few DNA letters within the existing genetic blueprint of an organism. By far the most widely used genome-editing tool is CRISPR-Cas. CRISPR-Cas genome-editing technology can be applied in a number of different ways. The genetic changes that are introduced by means of the SDN1 and SDN2 types of CRISPR-Cas technology do not differ from changes that can occur naturally or result from conventional breeding. While CRISPR-Cas technology is highly accurate, off-targets can occur. However, molecular characterisation of the genetic changes, combined with selection, can prevent plants with undesired changes from being introduced onto the market. Views on this new technology differ widely, but there is a clear need to discuss which type of regulatory governance is warranted for genome-edited crops.