Genome-edited crops for improved food security of smallholder farmers

Genome-edited crops for improved food security of smallholder farmers
Kevin V. Pixley, Jose B. Falck-Zepeda, Neal Gutterson
Comment | 07 April 2022
Nature Genetics, Volume 54 Issue 4, April 2022
   Widespread enthusiasm about potential contributions of genome-edited crops to address climate change, food security, nutrition and health, environmental sustainability and diversification of agriculture is dampened by concerns about the associated risks. Analysis of the top seven risks of genome-edited crops finds that the scientific risks are comparable to those of accepted, past and current breeding methods, but failure to address regulatory, legal and trade framework, and the granting of social license, squanders the potential benefits…

Many countries are still uncertain about whether to grow and how to regulate genome-edited crop varieties12. Scientific, political and social considerations impact these decisions, which are complicated by the rapidly evolving features of the science and inconsistent use of genome-editing terminology13. For example, genome editing may or may not involve the transitory introduction of foreign DNA sequences, may or may not result in transgenic products, and may or may not generate products that substantially differ from varieties bred through conventional breeding. Precise consistent use of accurate terminology (for instance, as proposed by the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine14) to transparently explain the process, products, benefits and potential risks and mitigation strategies is essential to build public trust and consistent regulatory oversight of technologies, including genome editing.