Gene Editing: The Future of U.S. Ag?


Aug 3, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) The fate of gene editing technologies could be discussed in ongoing trade talks around the world. Experts are fighting to ensure that the process’s potential – and its differences from genetic modification – are clear.

Experts say gene editing is the future of U.S. ag, both on and off the farm. Gene editing, which alters a plants own genetic material, rather than introducing outside genetic material, as with genetic modification, is leading to serious advances in everything from disease resistance in crops to feed efficiency in livestock. But with so much potential, and with approximately five years to go before genetically edited foods are potentially ready to hit the market, farmers and industry leaders are anxious to start the discussion with consumers now, with the hope of building social acceptance.

Experts are also keeping an eye on which agency, either USDA or FDA, will ultimately regulate these technologies, and what kind of scrutiny food products involving genetic engineering will face, particularly when it comes to labeling. And scientists are also focusing on the potential of the technology for minimizing disease in both plants and animals, which experts say is a major win for consumers concerned about their food’s carbon footprint.

The outcome of a lawsuit in the E.U., scheduled to go public after this month, will give U.S. companies more perspective on how the E.U. may treat gene editing products, and could play into E.U./U.S. trade talks surrounding agriculture.