Genome editing to the rescue: sustainably feeding 10 billion global human population
Modern animal breeding strategies based on population genetics, molecular tools, artificial insemination, embryo transfer and related technologies have contributed to significant increases in the performance of domestic animals, and are the basis for a regular supply of high quality animal derived food at acceptable prices. However, the current strategy of marker- assisted selection and breeding of animals to introduce novel traits over multiple generations is too pedestrian in responding to unprecedented challenges such as climate change, global pandemics, and feeding an anticipated 33% increase in global population in the next three decades. Here, we propose site-specific genome editing technologies as a basis for “directed” or “rational selection” of agricultural traits. The animal science community envisions genome editing as an essential tool in addressing critical priorities for global food security and environmental sustainability, and seeks additional funding support for development and implementation of these technologies for maximum societal benefit.
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