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Genetic Engineering and Sustainable Crop Disease Management: Opportunities for Case-by-Case Decision-Making

Department of Plant Pathology, 207 Plant Science Building, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546, USA
Academic Editor: Sean Clark
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 495;
Received: 22 March 2016 / Revised: 11 May 2016 / Accepted: 13 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture–Beyond Organic Farming)
Genetic engineering (GE) offers an expanding array of strategies for enhancing disease resistance of crop plants in sustainable ways, including the potential for reduced pesticide usage. Certain GE applications involve transgenesis, in some cases creating a metabolic pathway novel to the GE crop. In other cases, only cisgenessis is employed. In yet other cases, engineered genetic changes can be so minimal as to be indistinguishable from natural mutations. Thus, GE crops vary substantially and should be evaluated for risks, benefits, and social considerations on a case-by-case basis. Deployment of GE traits should be with an eye towards long-term sustainability; several options are discussed. Selected risks and concerns of GE are also considered, along with genome editing, a technology that greatly expands the capacity of molecular biologists to make more precise and targeted genetic edits. While GE is merely a suite of tools to supplement other breeding techniques, if wisely used, certain GE tools and applications can contribute to sustainability goals. View Full-Text
Keywords: biotechnology; GMO (genetically modified organism) biotechnology; GMO (genetically modified organism)
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Vincelli, P. Genetic Engineering and Sustainable Crop Disease Management: Opportunities for Case-by-Case Decision-Making. Sustainability 2016, 8, 495.

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