A new chance for biotechnology: the dawn of ‘Genetically Edited’ fruits

banana

News about so-called ‘genetically edited’ fruits has gone viral since Trends in Biotechnology mentioned them two days ago (13.08.2014.) (1,2,3,4,5)

The idea of ‘genetically edited’ is clear: due to the high social distrust and strict international regulations imposed on GM crops, biotechnology needed to come up with something more acceptable and natural-sounding. The point of this new technique is that (similarly to GM varieties) it is a fast way to genetically improve crops BUT without the introduction of foreign genes.
Thus, scientists only change the information which is already in the genom. This has become possible because of the fast developments in the precise editing of genomes.

Scientists hope that this method is already acceptable for the general public and consumers would trust genetically edited fruits, such as ‘super bananas’, which produce Vitamine A. (More about the importance of this here.)
Policymakers all over the world shall also reflect on these developments, as it is not clear whether this new method should be considered as  genetic modification or be subject to different rules.

In my opinion the term ‘genetically edited’ itself is still a bit too close to ‘genetically modified’ and ‘genetically engineered’, which both sound quite agressive and unnatural at least to my ears. I do not really see the reason why avarage consumers would show more trust and would be happier to eat these kind of fruits than the genetically modified ones, and I also don’t really understand how could it be possibly easier to proove these crops safe more easily.
I believe that as long as these genetically engineered crops are not marketed and regulated somehow in a radically different way, their acceptance on the market won’t change considerably, no matter how peaceful the purpose of scientists is.

Which might or might not be a problem, depending on who we are asking.

L.

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About Luca Utassy

Horticulture, agriculture, food and communication. This is what I love and do. From seeds through production, plant health, marketing, animal breeding, economy, policy, foodsafety, food quality and so on... I love this full package and I would love to share my enthusiasm and generate a little agrilover foodie-environment here :)
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