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Genome Engineering and Agriculture: Opportunities and Challenges.


In recent years, plant biotechnology has witnessed unprecedented technological change. Advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies have provided insight into the location and structure of functional elements within plant DNA. At the same time, improvements in genome engineering tools have enabled unprecedented control over genetic material. These technologies, combined with a growing understanding of plant systems biology, will irrevocably alter the way we create new crop varieties. As the first wave of genome-edited products emerge, we are just getting a glimpse of the immense opportunities the technology provides. We are also seeing its challenges and limitations. It is clear that genome editing will play an increased role in crop improvement and will help us to achieve food security in the coming decades; however, certain challenges and limitations must be overcome to realize the technology's full potential.