Gene editing can benefit our health, the planet, as well as our food supply

The seed industry is working with foreign markets to build approval with gene editing products.

The seed industry has spent the last five years prioritizing gene editing to bring new technologies to market, faster than conventional breeding can achieve. The American Seed Trade Association says that it is important to have the right regulations in place.

ASTA’s John Latham states, “We want to make sure we don’t have regulations on gene editing, if its something we are taking from the same species. Now for something outside the same species that’s more of a biotech event, but within the same species we can move things along and solve problems that farmers have, like weed resistance and we can do a lot of great things for the environment, as well.”

Chairman Latham says that the association is working with foreign markets to build demand and acceptance of gene edited products.

“We’ve seen some of these biotech events that have taken years and years to get approval in Asia and around the world, and we certainly don’t want to see that happen with gene editing, so it;s something we are really having to push,” he states. We do things like Innovature, a website and program that goes out to the world just talking about the things we are doing in the industry, to do things like fight climate change and be good stewards of the environment.``

ASTA utilizes USDA’s market access program funding to develop foreign relationships for American seed. Latham also says that conservation is a priority, including cover crop seed quality, to ensure producers are not seeing weed seed in the product.

He adds, “Cover crops are something we encourage. We want to make sure folks are certified quality seed when they are putting cover crops, they don’t get weed seed or anything else.”

The industry is also prioritizing research to continue discovering new genome traits for cover crops, grains, and vegetables.

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