VIDEO: Gene Editing: 5 Things You Need to Know

It’s not your grandfather’s genetic engineering.

Gene editing is a new suite of rapidly developing technologies that allow scientists to make tiny alterations to the DNA of a plant or animal, alterations more targeted and precise than could have even been imagined just a decade ago.

These technologies—CRISPR is one you may have heard of—have the potential to radically alter what we think of when we talk about GMOs. And they pose real quandaries for government regulators who are struggling to keep up with this cutting edge science.

Here are five things you need to know about gene editing.

  1. The technology generally leaves behind no foreign DNA.
  2. Regulators are working to determine whether gene-edited plants are GMOs.
  3. Gene editing could undermine GMO labeling efforts.
  4. Thanks to gene editing, cattle could be born without horns, and mosquitoes could be sterile.
  5. It could be harder for organic farmers to ensure their crops don't cross-pollinate with genetically modified plants.

For more on gene editing, including why biotech companies are flocking to it and how it could make current agricultural regulations obsolete, check out the special report on the topic I wrote for Bloomberg BNA last year. 


You can watch more videos in our 5 Things series here. We have segments on the Flint water crisis, reforming the nation's chemicals law and the country's first national mammal.