CRISPR Critters and the New Gene Revolution in Agriculture: New at Reason

"We are now at the dawn of the gene-editing age."



"For better or for worse, CRISPR–Cas9 is transforming biology," the editors of Nature Genetics observe in the current issue. "We are now at the dawn of the gene-editing age." The amazing CRISPR gene-editing technology, which has been likened to a genetic word processor, allows researchers to make specific changes ranging from tweaking a single DNA base pair to revising whole paragraphs of genetic information. CRISPR enables plant breeders to add or subtract basically any trait to crops and livestock. CRISPR can safely endow crops with resistance to pests, disease, salt, heat, and drought. Livestock can be made healthier and meatier. CRISPR will enable farmers to grow more, better, and safer food while sparing more land for nature—but only if regulators will stay out of the way.