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October 24, 2020

Science Cast

Bridging the gap between Scientists and the Public

Why CRISPR is the new revolution in agriculture

3 min read

The agriculture industry has been facing challenges for decades: low yields, pests, and diseases, post-harvest losses are amongst the numerous agriculture problems. With the high growing world’s population, it’s clear that land under crop production reduces, and new means is required to enable proper food production to feed the future generation. CRISPR is the new revolution not only in agriculture but also in the health sector. It has proved to remove unhealthy fats from soybeans, reduces gluten protein in wheat, cure cancer, and heart diseases. In agriculture, CRISPR improves crop yield and eliminates stress. Crisp’s crops are drought resistant, prevent pests, diseases, and give high nutrition taste.

WHAT IS CRISPR?

It is a biotechnological tool that scientists use to remove or change DNA within the plant with aim of getting the desired crop growth and production

Consumers find it difficult to differentiate between Crisps and Gmo bringing confusion. GMO has been facing significant criticism; failing to give the difference between the two could lead to many consumers and farmers missing chances in the new idea that will revolutionize agriculture.

What is the difference between CRISPR and GMO

  • In CRISPR, DNA editing (removal or change position of DNA) of the crop is done at the exact place where a change is required making it more accurate. In GMO change is done in the whole crop, there is nothing like DNA making it inaccurate 
  • In CRISPR, edited crops grow normally like other crops following natural plant growing style, In GMO there is a complete change of crop DNA causing the crop to grow in according to the introduced gene and do not follow natural plant growth
  • CRISPR changes the position of a crop gene or removes a gene that is already in the crop. A good example is when a problematic gene susceptible to certain pests and diseases is removed from a crop so that it becomes resistant whereas GMO involves the introduction of a new gene from another crop into a plant  
  • Prevents white mushroom from turning brown by increasing their storage duration (can be in store for long without going bad)
  • prevents greening in oranges. Crisprs increases disease resistance against greening in the citrus and orange family by boosting its immunity
  • Removes gluten in wheat! Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is promoted with gluten protein usually in wheat and burley grains; CRISPR removes the protein in the grains by manipulating the gluten gene.
  • Improves rice production. These are observed through an increase in rice grain size from 23%-32%. Rice also can stand intense floods and can live long while submerged in water for a long time
  • Develops and improves tomato genes that control tomatoes size and number of tomatoes produced: increases tomatoes size three times, and increase 12 times number of tomatoes that survives after transplanting
  • Produce high-quality crops with high drought resistance, tastes, and flavors
  • Crops can grow in salty seawater and still produce a high-quality yield
  • Production of soybeans that can stand drought  with improved oil content

How would CRISPR’S revolutionize agriculture?

  • it will combat climate change in agriculture by maintaining production in farms currently under crop production. For example it boost yields twice, also crops overcome agriculture uncertainties like pests and diseases .There will be no encroachment into forests, for fertile soils. Land under crop production will be enough to feed the world
  • will lead to the livestock of high production and very efficient. Many farmer prefers cross-breed cows or hybrids to local breeds because of  high milk production, With CRISPRS such breeds not only highly produce but also resist diseases
  • will save farmers money used in buying of pesticides and herbicide

Countries need policy and good regulations to enable farmers to grow crops sustainable CRISPR crops will be the next green revolution.

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