Gene Editing–Ag, Medicine, and DIYers

Biotech innovations have been affecting agriculture and medicine for decades, and gene editing has become one of the most influential aspects. Many have heard about CRISPR gene editing, but most do not really know how the procedure works. Now that a “do-it-yourself” kit can be ordered online, maybe it’s time more policymakers and members of the general public pay attention. The following links might help:

Gene Editing 2.0–Crispr, Crispier, Crispiest?

According to this article, flashier gene editing tools are being developed. “Researchers at the Salk Institute used one such system to treat several diseases in mice, including diabetes, acute kidney disease, and muscular dystrophy. It will take many more years of work for this generation of gene editors to find their way out of the lab into human patients, rows of vegetables, and disease-carrying pests. That is, if gene editing 3.0 doesn’t make them all obsolete first.”

Genetics and Agriculture

Biotech has been influencing agriculture in many ways, and this article looks at how gene editing will boost crop yields.

Gene Therapy and Medicine

With two cancer therapies approved and now a third one for vision, the FDA is allowing gene therapies for use in the treatment of diseases. More approvals are expected soon. And in another article, we see how the approach might lead to a treatment that helps stave off hearing loss in people with certain forms of inherited deafness.

Insights and Research

Two recipients of the Borlaug CAST Communication Award are at the forefront when it comes to researching and explaining biotech and ag/science applications. (1) Alison Van Eenennaam–UC-Davis–says her mission is to “provide research and education on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems.” Her blog site is here. (2) Kevin Folta–Univ. of Florida–is very active and outspoken about the proper applications of science methods to help feed the world. His blog site is here.

by dan gogerty (top pic from and bottom from

Help Support CAST

Your donation to CAST helps support the CAST mission of communicating science to meet the challenge of producing enough food, fiber and fuel for a growing population. Every gift, no matter the size, is appreciated.