A new variety every year? Crop Protection without pesticides? Mixing genes from plants, animals, humans? And it is not even considered GMO (for now). Will the new gene editing process turn the world of fruit and vegetables upside down? Yes and now, says Zachary Lippman in our next edition of the FRUIT WORLD. Everything you need to know about the method and its implications on the fresh produce business are featured in the upcoming edition of the FRUIT WORLD. Here is an excerpt:
FRUIT WORLD: Everybody talks about the new gene-editing process called CRISPR CAS9. What will change for horticulture?
Zachary Lippman: There are so many things that are going to change because of CRISPR – in terms of agriculture specifically. You can start on the surface where there will be ways now to introduce disease resistance genes that never existed. In certain species there’s what’s called a knock-in breeding where you can take a related species that has a disease resistance gene and that doesn’t exist or is a sister species and then you could introduce that into CRISPR by gene replacement. What we’re doing is looking at how genes that are controlling yields can be modified in terms of their activity so you can create qualitative changes in yield traits and that can probably happen across diverse traits. Those are probably the two major angles where CRISPR is going to have the most impact.
I think it will help accelerate breeding tremendously because now you can start to generate desirable genetic changes. Working with the existing DNA of the plant you can improve it using CRISPR and you can do that directly in the varieties that are already elite, that are already high quality. You are bypassing the need to do crossing and then selection because you immediately generate the desirable changes in the variety that you are already interested in working with.
FRUIT WORLD: How fast is CRISPR in comparison to conventional methods?
Zachary Lippman: It depends on what your goals are in breeding. If you’re talking about simple genetic changes where you just want to have a qualitative change it can be extremely fast. I mean you can start to think about things that would normally take several years. For example to cross in the disease resistance gene from a wild ancestor, a wild species, a wild relative to be cultivated it could take many years of crossing and selection. But now with CRISPR, starting to be possible now but for sure in the future, you can just bring in that disease resistance gene very fast, perhaps within a year you might be able to introduce that…
Zachary Lippman’s research focuses on the process of flowering and flower production, which is a major contributor to plant reproductive success and agricultural yield. His team is looking for the genes that control how many, when, and where flowers—and thus tomatoes—are produced on plants. The problem, Lippman discovered, is that two traits that arose during decades of domestication and crop improvement combined to thwart the altering of flower production via additional breeding.
If you like to read the article please click here to subscribe to THE FRUIT WORLD magazine
If you like to know more about the publication, readers, distribution and advertising options click here.
If you like to advertise in THE FRUIT WORLD click here.
If you like to order the FRUIT WORLD MAP click here.