Expiring patents and CRISPR

When the patent on a blockbuster drug ends, cut-rate competitors jump in and suck up market share. It’s too soon to say if something exactly like that will happen with GMOs. “We’ve gotten calls from all over the country, but how big a deal it’s going to be we still don’t know,” says Donald Dombek, director of the University of Arkansas Crop Variety Improvement Program, which developed the seeds Maddox has been selling.

The GMO market is big enough for competition, and might need some: more than 90 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered with Monsanto’s Roundup resistance genes. By the bushel, it’s easily the most important biotech product ever.

Interesting article, but these days I’m more worried about what the implications of CRISPR is going to mean when someone “accidentally” modifies a crop that targets certain genes in certain groups of people based on existing genetic conditions or race. Think of it as an engineered bioterrorism where a group of people (or a person) with a large chip on their shoulder wants to erase certain portions of the population through modified food. This scenario doesn’t seem like it’s that far of a stretch from something like dairy allergies into/out of food.

Most people with dairy allergies wouldn’t be allergic to camel’s milk, BTW. Similar concept for goat’s milk.

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