Research Topic

Genome Editing and Food Sustainability

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About this Research Topic

The use of genome editing tools such as CRISPR-Cas, ZFN, TALEN, and ODM to edit plant genes has huge potential in crop improvement. Indeed, their rapid development and application in plant breeding, coupled with the huge increase in crop genome data, represents a second revolution in plant biotechnology that ...

The use of genome editing tools such as CRISPR-Cas, ZFN, TALEN, and ODM to edit plant genes has huge potential in crop improvement. Indeed, their rapid development and application in plant breeding, coupled with the huge increase in crop genome data, represents a second revolution in plant biotechnology that may have an even greater impact on food production than the GM revolution that began in the 1990s. In this Research Topic we will gather papers on the technical aspects of genome editing applications in plants, including the development of non-GM techniques and using the technology to make sophisticated and robust alterations to gene sequences as well as gene knock-outs. We also seek manuscripts on the application of genome editing for any aspect of crop and livestock improvement.

Since the mid-1990s, when the first agricultural GM products became commercially available, they have become among the most rapidly disseminated crop technologies in history. This spread has been lauded in some sectors, criticized in others and led to a strongly polarized debate over the social and environmental impacts of GM organisms in agriculture and food systems. We welcome original research articles and review papers that consider genome editing in light of this history. How might risk assessment and regulatory processes learn from the first generation of genetic engineering? What is the role of scientists, farmers, governments, and corporations in making decisions about gene editing? Who will govern the development and use of genome editing tools and evaluate the ethics of their many potential applications?

Papers might consider topics such as:
- R&D in crop development, ranging from trait characterization (proof of principle studies) on through development of ‘farm-ready’ gene edited crops and livestock;
- implications of diverse ‘improvements,’ including resistance to viral and bacterial diseases, drought tolerance, insect pest resistance, herbicide tolerance, biofortification;
- the range of food, fiber, fuel, and fodder applications in crops; the range of livestock and fish applications (eg. ‘musclier’ beef cattle, swine-flu resistant pigs, chickens that produce only female offspring for increased egg-laying).
- ecological appraisals of gene editing at various scales;
- regulatory policy (including international trade) and risk evaluation;
- governance and decision-making;
- intellectual property rights;
- cultural issues, human values, and ethical considerations


Keywords: Genome editing, CRISPR-Cas, ZFN, TALEN, ODM, GMO, Plant breeding, Crops, Food production, Plants, Livestock, Gene editing, Policy, Risk evaluation, Risk management, Governance, Culture, Ethical considerations, Crop development


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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