Tired of regulatory confusion and a lack of funding, some US researchers are taking their gene-edited livestock abroad

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Advances in gene editing are allowing researchers to create mouse models that more closely mirror the disease in humans

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In September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the green light to a version of the plant Camelina sativa, an important oilseed crop that had been genetically engineered using CRISPR to produce enhanced omega-3 oil. What was interesting about this approval was that the USDA did not ask that the inventors of the plant endure the usual regulatory hoops required to sell biotech crops

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It remains to be seen if the trial will move forward

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A big piece that made the front page of the New York Times over the weekend takes aim at two of the most prominent arguments in favor of genetically modified crops: They increase yields (meaning we can get a lot more food from less land) and reduce pesticide use (meaning we’re poisoning that land and ourselves a lot less)

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As gene editing opens doors, plant researchers are hamstrung by the need for better ways to slip their molecular tools into cells

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The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat. But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides

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Tom welcomes Dr. Jeffrey Kahn to Studio A. Dr. Kahn is the director of the Berman Center of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. Folks in his field think about things like the ethical ramifications of research, how doctors interact with patients, public health policy, and global approaches to things like food distribution and allocation of medicine

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