Tag Archives: gene editing

Extra Credit #3- Center for Food Integrity ‘Gene Editing’ – Reflection

On October 9th, after a class discussing precision agriculture technology and data management, we were asked to do a reading from November 2018 on the Center for Food Integrity‘s ‘Gene Editing, Engage in the Conversation’ about speaking to opponents of gene-editing – namely the pre-2013 Mark LYNAS” of the world, anti-GMO supporter.

In the article, it is explained that gene-editing is the key to producing, ‘healthier, more affordable, and abundant food with less land and water-use’ and that consumers are, ‘inherently curious’ about the source of their food and how it’s produced.  It is the job of ‘Ag-vocates’ to explain biotech to those who are curious or misinformed.  It is helpful to provide tangible examples, and real-world visuals and anecdotes to aid in communication.

First, it is helpful to explain what gene-editing is, which is ,’the precise, intentional, and beneficial change of the genetic material of plants and animals used in food production for additional health, nutrition, and environmental benefits.’ Many consumers don’t believe plants even have DNA or contain genes.

When presenting knowledge about the gene-editing technique CRISPr to those consumers, finding experts whose knowledge is easily digestible is key.

Secondly, explain how gene-editing is beneficial to human health, i.e., use common ailments like cancers (leukemia, sickle cell, lung cancer) to frame gene-editing in a positive light.

Third, talk about how gene-editing has evolved with time. The process of cross-breeding plants with trial-and-error is a lengthy procedure that can take decades, while targeted editing is much quicker.

Fourth, find benefits that align with public desires.  Honing in on what consumers want, be it improved animal welfare or protecting the environment can be the key to swaying dissenters to the side of biotech.

Two analogies used to explain gene-editing are, ‘The Blueprint’ and, ‘the Encyclopedia’ to explain how making small aesthetic changes to a house does not make it structurally unsound or uninhabitable and can make it increasingly easy to find where the right resources are located, respectively.

Ultimately values, and not facts, are typically what sway both hearts and minds.

Finally, the article ends with a helpful glossary of terms and online resources, as well as the relatively recently established in 2016, ‘Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture‘. The Coalition is a collection of various entities from different fields who have shared values about gene-editing.


Document Reflection: CFI- Gene Editing Communication Resource in 2018

Gene editing or genome editing is one of the most promising innovations today which can be used to modify gene to resist disease for organism, increase the production of livestock and plants and so on. This advanced technology help improving the farmers’ s and food industries’ business significantly. But it also rises up a huge amount of concern from public. Because less than half people understand what gene editing is, it is easy to fear something that people isn’t familiar with. Therefore, scientists or experts have responsibility to explain. Also, how to demonstrate it is important. There are several effective communication approaches introduced in this document. Frist of all, people are more willing to trust experts or scientist rather than the companies or farmers who sell these GMO products. It is more acceptable, if explaining gene edition by telling that this technology is just similar to the potential of improving human health by using gene editing. And spokespersons should embrace skepticism and respect what people beliefs. Sharing an idea that people can take benefits from this technology most, not the companies, and the plants, animals and environment can be benefitable.

If public can understand more about the advanced technologies popping out in this world, listen to others’ ideas, not only opposing the new technologies, it will help to solve many issues in this planet.

CRISPR/Cas9 System and Gene Editing

To begin this discussion let me first explain what CRISPR stands for and how it works. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. CRISPR is a type of DNA sequences found with bacteria and archaea and plays a key role in the antiviral defense systems of the organism it is in. The reason it protects the organism from viruses is because the CRISPR DNA is made up of similar DNA to that of viruses that have infected the organism. The CRISPR DNA recognizes when a virus with similar DNA is near and Destroys it. Essential this is a way to edit genes within an organism. One trait of CRISPR that makes it extremely effective is that it has blank segments of DNA that are used to copy the DNA of new viruses that the organism may come across in the future.

Currently there are three commonly used alternatives to gene editing beside CRISPR/Cas9. They include Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFN), Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALEN), and Engineered meganucleases derived from mobile genetic elements of microbial origin. The main reason why these types of gene editing are as popular today is because these types of gene editing are very slow and not as effective when compared to the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system. In the agricultural business CRISPR can be used to increase the yield of important crops by essentially copy the same DNA. This could have extremely positive outcomes if properly executed.

CRISP/Cas 9 Gene Editing

CRISPR/Cas9 is a system that has just recently been discovered around the early 2000s and is taking the science world by surprise. This system is much more accurate compared to early gene editing systems, which makes it the new technique scientist are using. The way this system works is by targeting a specific genome and altering it. While you may think it sounds simple you might be surprised because quite frankly working with DNA sequences is very complex and hard. When looking further into the process there are two molecules used one being the Cas9 and the other being RNA. Now when a scientist picks out what DNA sequence they want to cut out in order to alter the genes they first need Cas9. This molecule is an enzyme that is inserted into the DNA sequence and cuts at a specific location in order to alter the DNA sequence where the scientist pick without harming the whole gene. Though in order for the enzyme to cut out the specific location it needs guide RNA to show it the right path. That means that the RNA is responsible for leading Cas9 to an exact spot in the DNA sequence and then performs the cut. Once the cut is made the cell recognizes the change in the DNA and tries to repair itself. However before the cell can repair itself the scientist uses a DNA repairing machine to introduce changes which will then become part of the gene. Once this process is complete the gene has the desirable trait the scientist picked out and now the process is done.






Gene Editing

Gene editing as defined by Merriam Webster is, the use of biotechnological techniques to make changes to specific DNA sequences in the genome of a living organism.  This basically means that scientists can go into DNA strands and edit them to display, or not display a certain trait. This can allow for greater accuracy and efficiency of an organism at interest. It is also noted that the process of gene editing usually would naturally occur in nature after repeated breeding. Gene editing just speeds up the process of improving genetics.

This technology of being able to change genetic material in a beneficial way is extremely important for the future of agriculture. It is extremely important in the food and fiber production system and the forever increasing demand of these products. Gene editing can benefit farmers in allowing them to keep up with the demand to produce food. This adds a great value to gene editing because it is one way producers can meet the demand for food and fiber, that will continue to grow.