Rebuttal to the Bezos Washington Post Rebuttal to the Bezos Washington Post


NASA-Inspired ‘Speed Breeding’ Boosts Wheat Production Threefold

Scientists working on a way to trigger faster wheat, chickpea, barley and canola production have found that LED light systems channeling the far-red spectrum can produce several generations of plants in what used to be a single growing year. According to New Atlas, the new, “non-GM” process also leads to better quality plants over standard in-the-field crops. Even so, researchers said GM technology and other breeding technologies like CRISPR are “very compatible” with their new speed growing knowledge.

I’m not surprised that photobiology to encourage plants to grow is now a subject of study. Light has been used therapeutically for humans for thousands of years, so it’s only natural to extend this “therapy” to plants. The sun, of course, is our greatest source of light that makes us healthy, but now we know that light therapeutics utilizing beneficial wavelengths of light are also a good therapy. Most of the original research on photobiomodulation was done with lasers, but now they’ve started using light emitting diodes (LEDs), which are more cost-effective and don’t have any safety concerns. LEDs also seem to be a more effective and efficient way to administer the therapy.

That said, I can’t help but point out that even though CRISPR gene-editing technology has been taking the medical world by storm, showing potential for treating diseases ranging from cancer to type 2 diabetes, I don’t think it has any place in the growing of our plants, which should be a natural, organic process, not a genetically-modified toss-up as to whether what you want to get is what you’re going to get. For example, after sequencing the entire genome of CRISPR gene-edited mice, researchers found numerous unintended mutations, including more than 100 additional deletions and insertions and more than 1,500 single-nucleotide mutations — and each mutation has the potential to lead to serious unintended and unexpected consequences.

That’s why I believe that taking a very cautious step backward, away from making this exciting new plant growing process part of a genetically-engineered forum, would be the best thing to do. There's no doubt that gene-editing technology is here to stay and that it certainly has the potential to do good, but it also has the potential to be misused and abused.
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