Breeding

CEO of Plant & Food Research: ‘Time for a grown-up conversation about gene editing’

Today, the new technology of gene editing is emerging as a real option in facing some of our world’s biggest challenges in food production, medicine, conservation and climate change, according to the CEO of Plant & Food Research in New Zealand, David Hughes.

In a recent article published on Stuff, he says: “The Institute I lead, Plant & Food Research, has committed our science to helping New Zealand’s agri-food sector deliver the best quality foods from the world’s most sustainable production systems. We believe gene editing can help us meet that commitment.”

Hughes points out that Plant & Food Research breeds only 100 per cent GM-free fruit, vegetables and grains. “We have never developed GM foods for commercial use and industry does not fund us to do so. Yet our discovery-focused teams routinely use gene technologies to further our knowledge.” 

He says Plant & Food Research scientists have learned that gene editing can help achieve traditional breeding targets around sustainability and nutrition much faster.

“That means consumers get more healthy whole foods sooner. Growers gain greater ability to fight pests, cut chemicals and delight the global market with innovative new products. Communities get options to keep their horticulture sector thriving in the face of climate change and pressure on the environment.”

Let’s be clear about why we need a new conversation, not a re-run of the “GM Debate”, Hughes says. 

Read the full article on the Stuff website here