Plant Breeding - Part Three
Gene editing is a collection of modern tools available to plant breeders that really change the game of genetic advancement in agriculture. CRISPr, the most famous of those tools, earned its researchers a Nobel Prize. Seed consultant Dr. Marcel Bruins sees tremendous potential in using these tools to precisely and efficiently make changes to crop varieties.
Bruins…. “Let's say you have a beautiful corn variety: high yield, high resistance, but doesn't have drought tolerance yet. And normally until now, you would have to cross that very good variety with a drought tolerant variety. And then you need 10, 15 years to select a new variety that combines the high yield and the good resistance with drought tolerance. But now with gene editing, you can surgically insert the drought tolerance into that good variety. And you still need some years of field selection, but within four or five years you can then arrive at a very good variety that is combining all those characteristics. So it's much faster, it's more efficient, it is cheaper. So it opens up possibilities for universities for small and medium sized enterprises and so on. So, it benefits all around.”
Gene editing does not introduce any new genes to the plant so it is not the same as a GMO.