NYON, Switzerland: The International Seed Federation (ISF) congratulates scientists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool.
“On behalf of the global seed sector, I would like to express our congratulations to Drs Charpentier and Doudna for their revolutionary work. Alongside the many applications of CRISPR-Cas9, it is a significant addition to plant breeders’ toolkit in the development of more resilient, productive and nutritious crops that meet the needs of farmers and consumers,” says Michael Keller, Secretary General of ISF.
Keller adds, “Plant breeding innovation is a critical part of our continuing efforts to contribute to sustainable food systems. With the help of the latest breeding methods, plant breeding will be more than ever able to contribute to agriculture and food security.”
Over the course of plant breeding history, plant breeders have been successfully selecting, breeding, and improving plants to the benefit of farmers and society alike. Tools like CRISPR enable breeders to make improvements leveraging variation with more precision than ever before and to support beneficial traits, such as increased crop resilience in the form of drought tolerance or improved nutrition while deactivating unfavourable traits, such as disease vulnerability.
“As a society, we need full and open discussions about innovation. At international and national levels, there is a need to build understanding and trust in science. Clear, predictable, science-based and risk-based policies and regulations, as well as effective implementation, are essential in developing quality seeds that are accessible to all, to give farmers access to a full range of choices and solutions to achieve a sustainable food production system,” says Keller.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 was awarded jointly to Emmanuelle Charpentier (Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany) and Jennifer A. Doudna (University of California, Berkeley, USA) for the development of a method for genome editing. Photo credit: Alexander Heinel/Picture Alliance/DPA.