The Potential of Gene Editing to Revolutionize Agriculture

Gene Editing: Science and Policy Implications
Friday, February 17, 2017: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 302 (Hynes Convention Center)
The recent advent of gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9 has enabled the precise and efficient modification of gene expression in a wide variety of organisms. This powerful new technology -- allowing targeted inactivation of specific genes, precise insertion of new genetic information, and altered expression of specific genes or sets of genes -- promises to greatly speed progress in fundamental biological research and catalyze transformative changes in medicine and agriculture. This session focuses on how gene-editing techniques are transforming laboratory research with plants and animals and will enable revolutionary advances in agricultural productivity. This step is critical, as we rapidly approach mid-century and must nearly double food production to meet the demands of 9–10 billion people. The panel uses examples to demonstrate how gene editing is being used to improve disease resistance in plant and animals, facilitate plant and animal breeding techniques, and increase the nutritional value of food. Speakers will also describe visions of where gene-editing technologies can take us in the future and provide overviews of the potential regulatory policies that may or may not be needed as technology applications emerge. The panel will also discuss issues surrounding societal acceptance of gene editing in crops and livestock.
Donald P. Weeks, University of Nebraska
Martin Spalding, Iowa State University
Nina Fedoroff, OFW Law