b'THE RISK CORNER BY: DAVID ZARUK20 BENEFITS FROM AGRICULTURAL GENOME EDITINGI t is often easy for anti-technology,7. Climate-proofing crops for19. Decline in the number of anti-corporate activists to paintextreme weather events. Genome editinggenetically modified (GM) plant reg-their own picture of reality, espe- increases plant tolerance to heat, floods,istrations given the comparable costs and cially when it comes to the lucrativesalinity, droughts and extreme cold for atime needed to comply with regulations.business of biotech fearmongering. So,wide variety of crops. 20. Meeting societys demands when an esteemed scientist stands up and8. Producing higher yields with lowerfor sustainable food production with demonstrates more than 20 benefits fromfertiliser, water and nitrogen inputs. increased yields while protecting the genome editing, we have a duty to let the9. Reducing food waste. Consumersenvironment and adapting to climate facts overwhelm the activist rhetoric. are enjoying the non-browning featureschallenges.Agns Ricroch is a member of thein mushrooms, apples and potatoes. In the 18 months since Professor French Academy of Agriculture and10. Increased nutritional traitsRicroch delivered her OECD keynote, associate professor in Evolutionarybenefit consumers with advances likethere have been further important devel-Genetics and Plant Breeding at Universitypotatoes with lower acrylamide levels,opments in agricultural genome editing Paris-Saclay and AgroParisTech. Shehigher fibre levels in wheat and oleic oilparticularly in the fields of nutrition, yield gave a keynote at an OECD conferencecontent in soybeans and better starchand climate stresses. There have also on genome editing in June 2018. Fromquality in corn. been campaigns against these breeding the publication based on her speech11.Geographicallyspecifictechniques including the confused deci-(Global developments of genome editingresearch allows for regional issues andsion by the European Court of Justice to in agriculture, Transgenic Res (2019)challenges to be addressed by local scien- regulate these technologies under the 28:4552), here are Professor Ricrochstists and research institutes rather thanEUs stifling 2001 GMO Directive.20 benefits from agricultural genomelarge multinationals with global applica- Some people may feel uncertain editing. tions of single traits. about several of the benefits in this list 1. Low cost opens up the technol- 12. More feasible/affordable/ and that is normal. But only the most ogy and innovations to researchers inimmediate solutions for importantcallous zealot would consider rejecting non-profits, smaller companies and publicanimal research. all 20 merely on dogmatic grounds. There institutions. 13. Disease resistance via genomeis likewise little justification for denying 2. Precision breeding allows forediting can protect livestock from diseasesthese benefits to organic farmers at a time the removal of undesirable DNA in anlike African swine fever, PRRS or BSE inwhen yield and land-use are so crucial for enhanced breeding process. cases where vaccines and selection weresustainable agriculture.3. Fewer off-target mutationsnot successful.Any EU policymaker who contin-with site-specific editing techniques14.Moreefficientlivestockues to ignore these benefits to farmers, lowers the risks of adverse outcomes. muscle development and body growthlivestock and consumers is not serv-4. Reduced time in breeding pro- allow better economic benefits for farmers. ing European citizens; any activist who grammes with fewer plant generations15. Offspring preselection removescontinues to campaign against these necessary (accelerating the research timethe need to cull less productive farm ani- technologies is wilfully damaging the from 7 to 25 years to 2 to 3 years). mals. environment; any researcher who does not 5. Pest and disease stress resist- 16. Better animal welfare condi- demand more support for genome editing ance allows plants to thrive without pes- tions including breeding hornless cowsis missing an opportunity for science to be ticides. Cassava can resist brown streakand reducing porcine heat loss. at the heart of our quest for solutions to disease and mosaic virus, apples could17. Editing animals to successfullyour greatest human challenges.be protected from fire blight, potatoeshost organs for human transplantsProfessor Ricrochs article can be from late blight, and oranges from citrus(addressing the shortage of human tissuesfound at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-greening disease and organs). 019-00133-6.6. Herbicide tolerance has allowed18. Potential to reduce antibiotic farmers to benefit from more effectiveuse in livestock while protecting animal weed control for canola, flax, rice health.EUROPEAN-SEED.COMIEUROPEAN SEED I 19'