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 for its growing population.
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.
“This was done by silencing the receptor gene of the bacteria in the tomatoes,’’ she said.
Gidado said the technology was quicker and easier to use with fewer intellectual property restrictions.
According to her, it is 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, better adaptability to changing climate and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses were developed.
Gidado said the editing of a plant genome at defined sites by precise nucleases has revealed possibilities for improvement of crops to meet the rising demands for food in Nigeria.
“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)