Nigeria must use gene editing technology to improve food production – OFAB Coordinator

Dr Rose Gidado, Country Coordinator, Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), says Nigeria must take advantage of gene editing technology to be able to produce enough food its growing population.

Gidado, also Deputy Director, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said speaking with the Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja.











Genome editing or genome engineering or gene editing a type of genetic engineering in which DNA inserted, deleted, modified or replaced in the genome of a living organism.

She said that gene editing technology was capable of reducing the need chemical fertilisers and other chemical sprays that of greenhouse gases.










Gidado cited an instance where the technology had been applied by scientists to produce tomatoes with longer shelf life, thereby ensuring steady supply of the vegetable all year round.

was done by silencing the receptor gene of the bacteria in the tomatoes,’’ she said.








Gidado said the technology was quicker and easier to with fewer intellectual property restrictions.

efficient gene editing will reduce of the opinion gaps that have contributed to the opposition of the genetic modification technology.

“Because of the simplicity involved in the of this technology, it would be easier policy makers in Africa to buy-in and it,’’ she said.














According to her, it imperative for Nigeria to increase its food production by 50 per cent before 2030, to able to feed its growing population.

The scientist added that crop improvement through gene editing was possible if crop varieties with higher yield, adaptability to changing climate and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses were developed.















Gidado said the editing of a plant genome defined sites by precise nucleases has revealed possibilities for improvement of crops to meet the rising demands for food in Nigeria.

“Crop genetic improvement a viable tool of modern biotechnology practice used to develop crop varieties that we grow to produce food, fuel and fibre needs of our citizens.














“It is the science of applying genetic modification and plant breeding principles to improve plants,” she said.

Gidado further said genetic modification was literally the essential feature of all life on earth.


















She explained that every genetically modified organisms (GMOs) produced was derived using enzymes and techniques discovered by researchers who found them in nature. (NAN)