Agriculture & Biotechnology Briefing

We invite legislators, staff, and other interested persons to join us for an interactive briefing on an emerging biotechnology in agriculture – gene editing. Christopher Willig, Ph.D. Candidate in the University of Missouri Division of Plant Sciences will give a presentation titled:

Genetic scissors with an address: How crop developers are using gene editing to transform agriculture and improve the food supply.


Tuesday, January 28th | 3:00-4:00 PM
House Hearing Room 2, Missouri Statehouse


Over the last few years, a technique called gene editing has revolutionized the science of studying genetics due to the development of an easy-to-use editing tool called CRISPR. CRISPR gives humans a way to make changes to the DNA code of plants, animals, and microbes to alter their traits in a much more precise way than has been possible using older genetic tools. This unprecedented capability for modifying genes has wide-ranging applications for improving the well-being of humans, particularly in the field of medicine. However, in this discussion we will focus on the impact that gene editing (using CRISPR and other tools) is having on food and agriculture. We’ll cover why CRISPR is such a major innovation, the basics of how it works, and the current landscape of applied plant gene editing in both the public and private sectors by discussing specific cases where it’s been used to make major changes to traits in ways that benefit farmers, consumers, and the public as a whole.