The Building Blocks of Healthy Crops
December 3, 2019
Meet FFAA Member Florikan ESA
January 8, 2020

Innovature is an organization dedicated to educating the public on gene editing techniques used
in agriculture. It is a joint project of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the
American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). The goal is to highlight progress being made in
agriculture, food, and wellness thanks to the advancements being made in the field of gene
Many people are unfamiliar with the current process of gene editing. This process is used by
scientists to make targeted modifications to a plant or animal’s DNA. This is done with the goal
of strengthening the plant or animal. The changes made through gene editing are the same as the
changes that could occur naturally through the evolutionary process, but this current level of
understanding of DNA allows these changes to be made over the course of years instead of
Gene-edited foods are safe and subjected to the same standards as any other food under the FDA
and USDA. Gene editing is not the same process as genetic modification, which produces
GMOs. The primary difference between the two processes is that gene editing works with DNA
from the plant or animal’s own family, whereas genetic modification involves introducing new

Why Gene Editing?
There are many ways for scientists to improve on plants and animals, such as cross-breeding and
grafting. Gene editing allows scientists to turn a gene on or off and re-create a gene from within
the organism’s family. This highly targeted approach allows scientists to see the results of their
efforts within one generation, whereas previous breeding methods were less precise and could
take several generations to take effect.

CRISPR is an enzyme used to attach to a specific DNA sequence and modify it. By using
CRISPR, scientists have been able to make a wealth of improvements to various plants and
animals. Some of these improvements include improving the nutritional value of certain
vegetables, improving animal welfare, and helping both plants and animals be more resistant to
disease. Other techniques are being developed for gene editing as well, such as zinc-fingers and

Gene editing is a safe and effective way to improve upon our current agricultural plants and
animals. While it is not the same as genetic modification, it is similar in that it involves the
manipulation of DNA. There are many uses for gene editing, and we are excited to see what the
future of gene editing holds for agriculture.

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