Prospects for Genetic Engineering in Agriculture

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 306 (Hynes Convention Center)
Richard Amasino, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Madison, WI
In U.S. agriculture, the major genetically engineered traits deployed are for herbicide and pest resistance. Herbicide resistance has been rapidly and widely adopted by U.S. corn, soybean, and cotton farmers mostly because of the flexibility and ease of use it provides in managing weeds, and insect resistance can provide effective pest control with reduced use of broad-spectrum insecticides.

Genetic engineering can be applied to a wider range of traits than herbicide and pest resistance. Recent examples include improved food quality, safety, and flavor. Products in development include blight-resistant chestnut that could be used to restore the American chestnut into forest ecosystems in the Eastern U.S. As knowledge of the fundamental pathways that govern plant biochemistry and development increases, the potential use of genetic engineering to increase traits that impact yield, food quality, and ecosystem services will correspondingly increase, and examples of possible future genetically engineered traits will be discussed.