The Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) recognizes the significant opportunities offered by new breeding methods. In a new dossier, the Academy presents five examples of crops cultivated using genome editing, which have high potential for Swiss agriculture. This publication emphasizes the scientific consensus on the use of genetic scissors. The new breeding methods offer numerous advantages for the environment and agriculture.
Modern crop protection products must be safe, targeted and short-lived – i.e. degraded shortly after reaching their target – without leaving behind biologically active degradation products.
Bioengineered crops have been cultivated in many parts of the world for around 25 years. Several publications bear witness to the great benefits of biotechnology in agriculture. The cultivation of the plants has a positive effect on the environment, the climate and yields for farmers.
Heat waves are posing a major challenge to cultivation around the world. Water shortages and droughts are resulting in heavy crop losses for the agricultural industry. Because droughts will be more frequent in the future, the search for plant varieties that consume less water is a top priority. One drought-tolerant wheat variety from Argentina is showing great potential.
The large-scale cultivation of genetically modified crops would counteract global warming. American and German researchers come to this conclusion in a study.
For about 15 years now, the story of alleged colony collapse disorder has persisted in the media, often attributed to pesticides and genetically modified plants. There is increasing evidence, however, that worldwide honey bee populations remain stable or are even growing.
Climate change affects the quality and quantity of harvests. According to a recently published study, there is a risk of significantly lower maize harvests as early as the mid-2030s. Africa and South America are primarily affected. However, Europe must also be careful that agricultural production is not neglected.
There is a common belief that organic farming is good for the climate and that it promotes biodiversity. However, this notion is increasingly be proven incorrect.
The romanticized conception of “natural” is deceptive. Very little of what we eat today developed naturally. “For 12,000 years, people have selected plants based on their characteristics, in an effort to make them edible and more productive,” says Bruno Studer, professor of Molecular Plant Breeding at ETH Zurich. Agriculture has developed through artificial selection.
Farmers around the world are growing pest-resistant varieties of maize that contain additional genes that protect them against damage caused by insects.
In its February 5 issue, the “BauernZeitung” newspaper looked at the only facility in Europe where field research involving genetically modified plants can be carried out.
Europeans are still resisting the cultivation of genetically modified crops – but this doesn’t mean they want to forgo the benefits of these products.
The protein-rich press residues of rapeseed would be ideally suited as feed for livestock with the help of "genome editing". Instead of imported soy, domestic rapeseed could be fed to animals.
Insect pests like fruit and shoot borers pose a significant threat to food security in many regions of the world. External application of chemical insecticides has proven unsuitable. Therefore, the research industry has high hopes for biologics.