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Is Agriculture and Food Becoming CRISPR?

Three researchers present findings on CRISPR gene editing at 2018 AAEA Annual Meeting

In April, the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it would not regulate crops that were genetically edited any differently than crops developed using other methods. CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats a breakthrough in gene editing technology. In agriculture, CRISPR allows researchers to select specific traits for the products grown by farmers and sold to consumers. This is a topic of interest at the 2018 AAEA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

In an Invited Paper Session “Gene Editing: Economic Issues for CRISPR in Food and Agriculture”, three presentations will explain the economic value of gene editing, explore implications of intellectual property control, and review the regulatory situation in Europe on Monday, August 6 at 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm in the Hoover room at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

Justus Wesseler from Wageningen University, and author of “Gene Editing Technologies: What to Expect from the Institutional and Legal Battles in the EU” says, “on average about one unit of additional costs in research, approval, and ex-post liability requires between 7 and 14 more units of benefit. The possibility to substitute approval costs with ex-post liability exist. Ex-post liability has much lower effect on the incentives to invest without necessarily reducing the safety of the product being developed.”

According to Gregory Graff from Colorado State University “Even through CRISPR technology is heavily patented, efforts are underway to provide broad access to the technology for commercial use in agriculture through a collaborative licensing platform. Success in these efforts could preempt serious controversies within industry and make CRISPR edits a fairly routine matter in crops and livestock. This in turn could have major implications for consumer familiarity and acceptance.”

Over 1,600 participants are expected to attend the 2018 AAEA Annual Meeting, which will take place on August 5- August 7 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C.

If you are interested in attending the 2018 AAEA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. or simply set up an interview with any of the authors, please contact Allison Scheetz in the AAEA Business Office. You can also learn more on our Annual Meeting Media Kit page.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Scheetz
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190