What is gene editing? How is it different from genetic engineering?

Gene editing allows scientists to make changes to a specific target sequence of DNA within a gene. It modifies the gene in a precise and predictable manner. Gene editing tools provide a great deal of flexibility in the kinds of genetic changes that can be made.  Changes that can be made include simple edits to, or deletions of, one or a few targeted letters in the genetic code.  The tools can also be used to insert much longer genetic sequences from the same species or another one — similar to what can be done with older transgenic technologies.  The key difference is that these edits and insertions can be made at very precise locations in the plant’s genome. Gene editing is more precise than genetic engineering, and technology keeps getting more reliable. It’s also relatively cost-effective compared to other methods, meaning more scientists could gain access to it. All of these advantages mean more potential innovation.

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