Biotech Revolution

February 23, 2018

Regulations, Applications, Acceptance

The genie is out of the bottle regarding gene editing and other biotech innovations, and according to most scientists, this is a good thing--for medicine, agriculture, and other pursuits. Safe, efficient applications are the goal, but in the world of agriculture, outdated regulations could hinder advancements. In this editorial, ag experts Alison Van Eenennaam and Nina Federoff explain the best path forward: "Precise gene-editing approaches are poised to revolutionize agriculture, but we have to start regulating from common sense instead of fear."

Note: In late March, CAST will roll out its new issue paper, Regulatory Barriers to the Development of Innovative Agricultural Biotechnology by Small Businesses and Universities

Check these stories for related ag/tech information:

**Agri-Pulse's Sara Wyant looks at agricultural technology and the crucial funding needs for research--with insights from Sonny Ramaswamy and others.

**According to Sam Fiorelli of the Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, the development of technology in agriculture has helped encourage young people to stay in or come back to rural communities.

Check the General Section below for info about medical innovation.

Planting Season Approaches

Robert Louis Stevenson supposedly said, "Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." Figuratively, this speaks about philosophy; literally, this speaks to the farmers of the Northern Hemisphere who see planting season looming on the calendar. With preparations in mind, we offer the following links and research papers about many aspects of crop production.

CAST's recent issue paper, Plant Breeding and Genetics, focuses on the critical importance of innovation in plant breeding to meet the challenge of providing food and nutritional security to humankind.  

Researchers used 6,000 peer-reviewed studies to compare GMO corn with conventional varieties--and they found that GMO corn increased yields and decreased dangerous food contaminants.

These researchers looked at whether or not vegetation from crop production has influenced the Midwest climate. The report includes a video and input from Rick Cruse of Iowa State University. 

Another recent CAST Issue Paper--Crop Protection Contributions toward Agricultural Productivity--examined the current plant protection revolution that is driven by the biological realities of pesticide resistance, various market forces, and real or perceived side effects of pesticides.   

In the latest dicamba update, an Arkansas judge dismissed a challenge of the state's ban on the controversial weed killer.