October 2019 Edition of ICAC Recorder Evaluates the Potential and Risks of Gene Editing

For Immediate Release 
Date Posted: 29 October 2019
Executive Summary
Highlights from the October 2019 ‘ICAC Recorder’ include:
  • A thoughtful editorial from Dr Keshav Kranthi, Head of the ICAC Technical Information Section, that addresses both the enormous potential of CRISPR gene-editing technology, but also its potential to be misused
  • An article focussing on how CRISPR/Cas gene editing is introducing new era of ‘precision breeding’ to the cotton industry
  • A mini-review outlining how new technology is enabling plant scientists not only to create new traits, but also restore important traits that had been lost over the years
  • A call for more, and differently formulated, regulations to assess the safety and impact of gene-edited plants
  • An article that explores the role gene editing might have in the creation of specific fibre characteristics that spinners want
October 2019 Edition of ICAC Recorder Evaluates Potential and Risks of Gene Editing
As is so often the case these days, new technologies can be seen as a double-edged sword. On one hand, cutting-edge technologies such as gene editing bring astonishing new capabilities to cotton researchers and scientists, enabling them to create new strains that are better suited to today’s environmental conditions. On the other hand, the consequences of using these powerful new tools are not fully understood yet — and might not be understood for generations to come.

In the opening editorial of the October 2019 ICAC Recorder, Dr Keshav Kranthi, the International Cotton Advisory Committee’s (ICAC) Head of Technical Information, addresses both the challenges and opportunities posed by the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) gene-editing tool.

Dr Kranthi, demonstrating his knowledge of the many implications of this powerful tool, also helped to write two of the four main articles. The first — which he co-authored with Joy Das, Rakesh Kumar and KP Raghavendra of ICAR — discusses using CRISPR to add or restore desirable characteristics to cotton. The second, co-authored with ICAR’s G. Balasubramani, explores the ways in which biosafety regulations need to be adapted and updated in light of these new capabilities and their potential for abuse.

The other entries in the October 2019 edition of the ICAC Recorder include:
  • An article from Dr. Baohong Zhang — a professor at East Carolina University and the 2018 ICAC Researcher of the Year — entitled ‘CRISPR/Cas-based genome editing: A new era for transgenic and precise breeding in cotton’; and
  • A collaborative article, written by more than a dozen researchers at Pakistan’s Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology, entitled ‘Cotton Fibre Quality Management for a Sustainable Textile Industry’. 
To view the October 2019 'ICAC Recorder', please click one of the links below:



About the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC)
Formed in 1939, the ICAC is an association of cotton producing, consuming and trading countries. It acts as a catalyst for change by helping member countries maintain a healthy world cotton economy; provides transparency to the world cotton market by serving as a clearinghouse for technical information on cotton production; and serves as a forum for discussing cotton issues of international significance. The ICAC does not have a role in setting market prices or in intervening in market mechanisms. For more information, please visit www.icac.org.