The Future of Agriculture Depends on CRISPR

CRISPR does not only the capability of curing disease and altering the genes of human DNA, but it also has the potential of altering the genetic data of crops. GMOs have been a staple of the American farming industry for the better half of the last century because it produces efficiency within the economy. GMOs cut the time needed for crops to grow and for farmers and agricultural industries to turn a profit. Although it is beneficial to the economy, and trying to feed the nation as a whole, there are obvious repercussions for taking the easy way out.

These are the increased resistance to pesticides, the appearance of new allergies and other organism effects that are a result of consuming genetically modified foods. GMOs are spread primarily into crops through chemicals and other toxins that stimulate growth, help the crop retain its color and prevent the crop from being pest infested. What CRISPR can offer is the answer the organic farming community has been looking for: how can one ensure no food shortages, healthy options and increased human health? Although still a form of genetic modification, CRISPR does not come with the toxins that chemicals bring to people and the environment. The toxins that are emitted onto crops and harming the environment are creating more problems than solutions for the world. Instead, what genetically modifying tools can help create is altering the crop’s actual DNA and take away the harmful toxins that are in the environment and eaten by people altogether.

CRISPR is not only useful for altering the DNA of crops for farming purposes but for health purposes as well. This gene-editing tool can enable vegetables and fruits to carry even more health benefits and nutrients for those who cannot eat or drink certain foods.

As seen in the article linked above, corn now has the capability of carrying the same health benefits of meat and even more so, is on the verge of becoming the healthiest vegetable. Through doing this, imagine the hundreds of thousands of vegetarians who would no longer be deprived of the nutrients of meat or fish because those very same proteins are in the vegetables that they are more inclined to eat. If anything what CRISPR can accomplish is a win for the picky eaters who choose not to eat a certain food because they do not prefer the taste and now, they do not even have to. On that note, CRISPR has also been used to aid those with allergies such as those with allergies to gluten. Therefore, the allergies that people are suffering from, due to genetically modified chemicals, can now be combatted with gene therapy. As a result, these therapies can prove to be vital in easing the way of life for those with extensive food allergies whilst protecting people from future allergies to different crops because with all things remaining the same, not every human body will respond to a certain crop, genetically modified or not.

What CRISPR can also bring to the agriculture sector is a way to combat the environmental changes that are enveloping the world. With natural disasters and extreme weather becoming so common within the world, genetic engineering provides a solution to farmers and industries in this field. To think that CRISPR can be used to alter the genes of say oranges and allow for them to grow fruitfully in the winter or wheat that is capable of bracing extremely dry, or extremely wet, weather. This will make all types of crops accessible to places all over the world, battling hunger and providing for an a boost in the global economy for easily traded goods that be mass produced worldwide and shipped to various nations as a direct result. CRISPR gives nations the opportunity to expand their fight against world hunger in a way that was once thought to be impossible. Already this fall, apples that do not brown are going to be released into supermarkets and just with this launch alone, it should evident that genetically modifying the DNA of fruits and vegetables is not a thing of the future, but something that is happening and happening now.

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