Publication date: 01/03/2016


The CRISPR revolution may be having its most profound – and least publicized – effect in agriculture. By the fall of 2015 about 50 scientific papers had been published reporting uses of CRISPR in gene-edited plants, and there are preliminary signs that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one of the agencies that assesses genetically modified agricultural products, does not think all gene-edited crops require the same regulatory attention as “traditional” genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. With that regulatory door even slightly ajar, companies are racing to get gene-edited crops into the fields and, ultimately, into the food supply.

Will consumers agree? Or will they see CRISPR crops as the latest iteration of Frankenfood—a genetic distortion of nature in which foreign (and agribusiness-friendly) DNA is muscled into a species, with unpredictable health or environmental consequences? Because CRISPR is only now being applied to food crops, the question has not yet surfaced for the public, but it will soon.

Resource type: article: Web Page