Announcements

Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published yesterday.

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




Frankenfood or the future of agriculture?

Consumers will soon be eating gene-edited foods that have added nutrients, potatoes that do not turn brown, and mushrooms with a longer shelf life, scientists at The University of Queensland predict.

UQ Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation Director Professor Robert Henry said gene technology was a potential game-changer for agriculture. “The next generation of genetically altered foods are here and waiting for regulatory approval,” he said.

“While most consumers don’t understand what gene editing is, many also don’t understand genetics or the conventional breeding techniques that have been delivering us new and improved foods for centuries.” Professor Henry said there have been major advances in gene technology, and the regulatory environment needed to keep up.

Gene editing involves a snip or tweak of DNA at precise locations on the genome, using technologies such as CRISPR. “Gene editing is the same as conventional breeding but a faster, safer and a more precise process – with benefits to human health as well as agriculture and food,” Professor Henry said.

He said gene editing had not attracted the controversy surrounding GMOs from consumers. “We have not had the same public response, because gene editing does not require inserting new genes into the cell’s nuclei.”

Researchers in China and the United States have already successfully edited the genomes of human embryos to correct disease carrying mutations. Professor Henry said there would soon be similar innovations in the crop, horticulture and livestock industries.

“We will see more nutritious, longer-lasting, disease-resistant crops, fruits and vegetables, and more effective ways to develop desirable welfare traits like polled (hornless) cattle,” he said.

“Gene editing allows us to do things more efficiently and faster than we are able to do with conventional genetic improvement and plant breeding.”

Professor Henry said that the technology was advancing rapidly and regulatory considerations needed to encompass  more than technological tools or processes.

The  Australian Gene Technology Act is under review and States and Territories must agree to new regulations.

Professor Henry is part of a panel of international experts discussing the regulation of gene editing in agriculture at a breakfast hosted by the Queensland Rural Press Club, as part of National Agriculture Day during the TropAg2017 conference in Brisbane on 21 November. Register online here.

Publication date: 11/9/2017

 


 

Other news in this sector:

7/12/2018 Regulatory status of non-GMO plant innovations under current EU law
7/6/2018 CPVO sees technical challenges to EU PVP system
7/3/2018 Gene editing approach aims for broad disease resistance in food crops
7/2/2018 Italy: New tomato varieties for an increasingly demanding market
7/2/2018 EC ruling may offer opportunities for situation-specific safety analyses
7/2/2018 Chinese scientists spot selfish genetic element in plants
7/2/2018 US (CA): Lettuce breeder expands to include grocers
7/2/2018 US: $50,000 grant for novel gene editing approach
6/29/2018 Plants have unique lock to control expression of genes
6/28/2018 Tim March new business manager at Rijk Zwaan Australia
6/28/2018 Tomatoes with a Western-Asian background
6/26/2018 "The seed business is about trust"
6/18/2018 High attendance for Open House Days of Eminent Seeds
6/15/2018 ASTA announces 2018 seed industry award winners
6/11/2018 "Gene editing just got easier"
5/29/2018 Partnership leads to new genetic technologies for food crops
5/28/2018 US: New bill will help revitalize public plant breeding
5/28/2018 France: "Demand for innovation on the tomato market"
5/25/2018 US (ME): How Johnny's breeds their seeds
5/25/2018 Nove assembly of lettuce genome