Science, Technology and Innovation

Gene editing techniques and agrifood systems​ 

When: 21 October 2022 | 9:00 – 10:45 hrs (CEST)

Where: FAO Red Room

Modality: Hybrid


Gene-editing technologies represent a promising new tool for plant and animal breeding in low- and middle-income countries. They enhance precision and efficiency over current breeding methods and could lead to rapid development of improved plant varieties and animal breeds. However, as for any new technology, they have their merits and demerits. There is, as yet, no international consensus regarding if and how gene-edited organisms should be regulated, and whether their release would fall under the regulatory framework of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. This event will discuss, from national and regional perspectives, the potential benefits, food safety related issues, and unintended consequences of gene-editing technologies, as well as the barriers to adoption and diffusion, implications for small-scale producers, and ethical, regulatory and policy issues in the context of agrifood systems. 


09:00 – 09:05

Brief welcome by the Moderator

Magdalena Skipper
Editor in Chief, Nature 


Introductory Remarks

Ismahane Elouafi
Chief Scientist, FAO


Setting the scene 

Sonja Vermeulen
Managing Director, Genetic Innovation, CGIAR 

09:20 – 09:25



09:25 – 10:15 















Moderated panel discussion

Magdalena Skipper
Editor in Chief, Nature 

Hiroshi Ezura
Professor, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba

Ihuoma Okwuonu
Plant biotechnologist, National Root Crops Research Institute

Irene Sacristán Sánchez
Head of Unit E3, Biotechnology, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission

Rob Bertram
Chief Scientist, USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security

Babafemi Oyewole
CEO, Pan African Farmers’ Organisation

Gabriel Vichera
Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Kheiron Biotech

10:15 – 10:35

Q&A Session

Magdalena Skipper
Editor in Chief, Nature 


Closing remarks

Ismahane Elouafi
Chief Scientist, FAO