Podcast: Jon Entine, Kevin Folta, Perry Hackett on how gene editing could dampen the partisan GMO divide

Image: iStock/monsitj
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

We all know agriculture faces a massive challenge in the coming decades, which is usually summarized like this: The world’s population is exploding. By 2050, we have to dramatically increase the number of calories we produce today in order to feed 10 billion people—without destroying the environment in the process. Because of its ability to cut pesticide use and boost crop yields, biotechnology has an important role to play if we are to achieve this goal. As a 2014 study noted:

On average, GM technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37% [and] increased crop yields by 22% ….

But before the agricultural community can drastically boost food production, it must earn the trust of many consumers, and see a softening of the opposition by old-guard environmentalists and organic food advocates. These groups remain wary of the multinational corporations that developed transgenic (GMO) crops beginning in the 1990s and still wield much influence over agricultural biotechnology today. So how do you win over people who view crop biotechnology and corporate influence as threats?

Related article:  Wheat and celiac disease: Modern breeding not to blame for gluten—but gene editing could help

One answer may be gene editing, a burgeoning technology that could circumvent the most common objections to utilizing biotechnology on the farm. On this episode of the Innovation Forum (a British organization focusing on promoting sustainability) podcast, GLP executive director Jon Entine, University of Florida horticulturalist Kevin Folta and Recombinetics co-founder Perry Hackett join host Toby Webb to discuss how gene editing might help bring farmers, consumers, activists and industry together in pursuit of sustainable food production.

Jon Entine is the executive director of the Genes and Science. Twitter: @JonEntine. Kevin Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Twitter: @KevinFolta. Perry Hackett is the co-founder of the gene-editing company Recombinetics @recombinetics.

This podcast was originally released in June by the Innovation Forum as How and why genome editing can transform agriculture and has been republished here with permission.

The GLP featured this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. The viewpoint is the author’s own. The GLP’s goal is to stimulate constructive discourse on challenging science issues.

Outbreak Daily Digest

podcasts GLP Podcasts More...
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped

video Videos More...
stat hospitalai ink st x mod x

Meet STACI: STAT’s fascinating interactive guide to AI in healthcare

The Covid-19 pandemic underscores the importance of the technology in medicine: In the last few months, hospitals have used AI ...

bees and pollinators Bees & Pollinators More...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...

infographics Infographics More...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...

biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
glp profiles GLP Profiles More...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
report this ad report this ad report this ad


News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend