On September 7 the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW) organised a symposium on the opportunities, threats and limitations of gene editing. Editing of specific features within a genome, has rapidly gained momentum due to recent developments based on CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Scientists from a variety of research areas including industrial microbiology, human medicine and animal and plant breeding presented the possibilities, limitations and possible ethical aspects of the technique for these respective fields.
Martien Groenen, personal chair at the Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre (ABGC) of Wageningen University & Research, presented the potential applications and limitations of genome editing for animal breeding. Simulation studies at ABGC provided insight in the number of animals that need to be edited and the costs-benefits of genome editing for different scenarios. While genome editing provides promising opportunities for research and novel products, it is unlikely to contribute significantly to selection of complex multigenic traits in livestock.
For more information about the symposium (only in Dutch) click here.