How to facilitate more rapid adoption of future genomic innovations was a key theme at a recent agricultural biotechnology conference. |  File photo

Crop science can boost sustainability

Efforts to achieve sustainability through crop science, in particular through the genome editing technique called CRISPR, proved to be a key theme at a recent conference in Italy The ICABR conference, held June 4-7 in Ravello, Italy, attracted about 130 people from academia, government and industry, to discuss the latest research on the bioeconomy and […] Read more

Gene editing will become the next big thing in plant science, crop development and agriculture only if the public accepts the technology. | File photo

Analysis: Public must support gene-editing revolution

Gene editing has the potential to change agriculture, but only if consumers believe it’s a beneficial technology

Experts believe gene editing of crops has more potential than genetic modification or conventional plant breeding. That’s the finding of a University of Saskatchewan research paper, published March 4. It’s important that experts, academics, government officials and agri-business professionals believe in the power of gene-editing technology, but their opinion really doesn’t matter. Gene editing will […] Read more

Intexon, which acquired the company that developed the Arctic Apple, says sale figures suggest that consumers do want a non-browning apple.  |  Getty Images

Proper product called key to consumer GMO acceptance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jack Bobo doesn’t hold back when talking about the Arctic Apple. He believes the non-browning apple could change how people think and talk about genetically modified food. “I like to say it’s the most important GMO in the history of the world,” said Bobo, vice-president of global policy and government affairs with […] Read more


DuPont and other big players in the seeds and traits industry are more cautious now about transgenic traits because another technology has arrived that is cheaper and less controversial.
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Gene editing may be future of plant breeding

Fifty million is a lot of money, and $100 million is a whole lot more. It now costs somewhere in that range for crop science companies to get a transgenic crop trait through the regulatory system and into farm fields in North America. Seeing how it also takes years, possibly five to 10, to get […] Read more

Mistakes were made more than two decades ago when genetically modified crops first came to market, says a Monsanto executive.
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Failure to explain, educate public about GM a mistake: Monsanto

Mistakes were made more than two decades ago when genetically modified crops first came to market, says a Monsanto executive. Robb Fraley, the company’s chief technology officer, said those errors still haunt agriculture, and industry leaders can’t repeat them with a new technology known as genome editing. “In the case of the GMO technology, one […] Read more


Organic agriculture needs to reconsider its hard-line stance against biotechnology, says University of Saskatchewan plant scientist Steve Shirtliffe.  Otherwise, he says, people in the sector are in danger of becoming Luddites.
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U.S. organic sector rejects all biotech

Organic agriculture needs to reconsider its hard-line stance against biotechnology, says University of Saskatchewan plant scientist Steve Shirtliffe. Otherwise, he says, people in the sector are in danger of becoming Luddites. In November, the U.S. National Organic Standards Board said it was rejecting all new forms of biotechnology for plant breeding, including genome editing and […] Read more

plant scientists pay less attention to seed traits that enhance nutrition because farmers are unlikely to pay $5 more for a barley seed that improves the crop’s vitamin and mineral content. 
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Willingness to pay for nutrition grows

KINGSTON, Ont. — Seed companies are mostly focused on traits that improve yield, fight crop disease, increase nitrogen use efficiency or improve drought tolerance. Researchers focus on those attributes because farmers will pay more for seeds with superior agronomic traits. However, plant scientists pay less attention to seed traits that enhance nutrition because farmers are […] Read more

It appears the European Union is becoming more opposed to any form of agricultural technology, says Maurice Moloney of the Global Institute for Food Security in Saskatoon. | File photo

EU’s trade future hinges on genome editing

KINGSTON, Ont. — The crop biotech industry will soon learn if Europe is headed into a regulatory abyss. European politicians remain hostile to genetically modified crops, and over the last few months they have considered banning glyphosate, the most popular herbicide in the world. It appears the European Union is becoming more opposed to any […] Read more


Changes to gene altering technology pose new questions for regulators.  |  File photo

Gene editing poses new dilemma for Europe

The European Union is warned about the dangers of treating the new technology like it does genetic modification

LONDON, U.K. (Reuters) — Heat-tolerant Angus beef cattle designed for the tropics with white coats instead of black or red. A button mushroom that doesn’t turn brown. Pigs that don’t fall sick. These are all ideas thrown up by gene editing, a new technology that is taking the biomedical world by storm and promises a […] Read more

Imagine what the world would be like if modern insulin had been rejected because it was genetic modification?  |  File photo

Innovation important in agriculture

A number of articles have recently been written by opponents of modern agriculture, such as Paul Hanley’s article, GM crops not all they’re cracked up to be, (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Tuesday, April 9). They are misleading, to say the least. While critics generally associate GM technology with agriculture, this technology has been widely adopted in other […] Read more