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ASTA Highlights Role of Plant Breeding Innovation at Hearing

Cindy Zimmerman

The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) highlighted the role of plant breeding innovation in solving global challenges during a House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on biotechnology Tuesday.

ASTA Vice President of Scientific Affairs and Policy Fan-Li Chou testified at a joint hearing of the House Agriculture Subcommittees on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture and Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research about the unprecedented challenges facing today’s agriculture and food system and how evolving plant breeding innovations like gene editing offer solutions to many global issues. Her testimony highlighted examples of cutting-edge research across a wide array of crops in public and private sector breeding programs across the country creating new and innovative varieties can allow farmers to grow more, using less, while fighting food waste, sequestering carbon, boosting nutritional benefits, and much more.

“One of the exciting things about gene-editing tools is the potential for widespread access across breeding programs of all sizes, including the public and private sectors, across all crops, and across farming operations of all sizes, production methods, and geographies,” said Chou. “Federal and global policies will play a huge role in access to these products. It is important that policies be clear, and risk- and science based; it’s also important that there is harmonization across global policies — otherwise, innovation will be limited to very few crop varieties, and the benefits will never be fully realized across the agriculture sector. Appropriate policies can incentivize investments in plant breeding innovation, such as gene editing, creating new jobs and market opportunities, and boosting sustainability throughout the agriculture and food value chain.“

Listen to Chou’s opening remarks here:
House Ag biotech hearing - Fan-Li Chou, ASTA (4:36)

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