Genome editing technology

Genome editing technology enables genetic engineering where DNA is replaced, deleted or inserted in the genome of a living organism, and the emergence of CRISPR-Cas9 system has further facilitated the realization of precise genetic modifications. Gene mapping and precise genetic modifications by inducing targeted DNA double-strand breaks opened up new avenues for the application of genome editing technology in drug development, gene therapy, agricultural breeding, environmental protection and endangered animal rescue.

Transgenic technology

Transgenics describes the process of introducing foreign DNA into a host organism’s genome. The foreign DNA, or “transgene,” that is transferred to the recipient can be from other individuals of the same species, from different species or even from artificially synthesized DNA. The foreign DNA was incorporated into the host genome by either homologous recombination or non-homologous recombination, and the following trait selection on a population allows cultivar development within a species to create offspring with desirable traits.

The difference between genome editing technology and transgenic technology

Both Genome editing technology and transgenic techniques can alter the genome of an organism so that the desirable trait can be inherited, but there is a big difference between the two. Genome editing is the manipulation of the genome of the organism itself by knocking out or replacing targeted gene which resulting in individuals with intentionally selected and desired traits, while transgenic technology can only introduce biologically nonexisting foreign genes to the original organisms in order to tailor the species with new traits. Therefore, the use of gene editing technology, can be fast, accurate and without the introduction of exogenous DNA fragments in the case of the organism genome transformation. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shown lenient to genetically modified crops comparing to its controversial transgenic sibling. The decision means that the genetically modified crops can be cultivated and sold without passing through the agency’s regulatory process. The green light from USDA allows the flourish of valuable and disease-resistant crops while bypassing the use of controversial transgenic technologies.