Tuesday 8 November 2022 | 12:00 noon – Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA
Director – Eastern Africa Hub, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
The Potential of Genome Editing for Sustainable Agriculture
(Host L. Donaldson)
Sustainable intensification of agriculture is essential for accomplishing food and nutritional security and addressing the rising concerns of climate change. There is an urgent need to close the yield gap in staple crops and enhance food production to feed the growing population. More efficient approaches for producing food are needed to meet the increasing demand for food. All the tools available in the toolbox, including modern biotechnology, must be applied for crop improvement. The full potential of new breeding tools such as genome editing needs to be exploited in addition to conventional technologies. Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated protein (CRISPR/Cas)-based genome editing has rapidly become the most prevalent genetic engineering approach for developing improved crop varieties because of its simplicity, efficiency, specificity, and easy to use. Genome editing improves crop variety by modifying its endogenous genome free of any foreign gene. Hence, genome-edited crops with no foreign gene integration are not regulated as genetically modified organisms in several countries. Researchers are using CRISPR/Cas-based genome editing to improve several staple crops for biotic and abiotic stress resistance and improved nutritional quality. There is a need to create an enabling environment with science-based regulatory guidelines to release and adopt the products developed using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing. A synopsis of recent advancements in the application of genome editing for the improvement of banana will be presented during this seminar. It will also briefly describe the current status of regulatory requirements for releasing genome-edited crops in different countries.