An Interview with Alison Van Eenennaam, Animal Biotechnology & Genomics Extension Specialist from University of California.
“Gene editing will not replace conventional breeding programs, but rather will work synergistically with conventional tools”
What is the current status and direction of CRISPR & NBTs application in agriculture?
As with all breeding methods they are being used to improve traits of importance to the breeding objectives of food plant and animal genetic improvement programs. Such traits include disease resistance, resilience, and improved efficiency.
CRISPR & NBTs: How should you choose the right tool in the toolbox to improve and accelerate genome editing R&D processes in agriculture?
Breeders will use the most efficient breeding tools that are available to enable genetic improvement. In some cases this might include gene editing reagents.
Gene editing will not replace conventional breeding programs, but rather will work synergistically with conventional tools to introduce useful genetic variation to accelerate the rate of genetic gain.
What are the optimization strategies for CRISPR & NBTs in the future?
For gene editing to be routinely used in animal breeding programs, it will need to be seamlessly integrated into traditional breeding programs.
Ideally edits would be introduced into the developing embryo of the next generation of breeding stock.
If editing slows down the rate of genetic improvement (e.g. by increasing the average age at which an animal becomes a parent) or is incompatible with editing the multiple lines that are crossed to produce commercial lines, it will not be adopted in animal genetic improvement programs. Read more