Plant Biology 2020 Symposium: Harnessing the Potential of Genome Editing for Tomorrow’s Agriculture

The ASPB has a proud history of bringing the plant science community together. This year, although we can’t meet in person, we will come together online for #plantbio20, The Plant Biology Worldwide Summit 2020, which will be held online July 27–31, 2020. The Genome Editing Symposium is  scheduled for 10 AM–12:40 PM ET on Thursday July 30th, with a re-broadcast 8–10:45 PM, but please check the schedule for updates at

Catherine Feuillet, chief scientific officer at Inari Agriculture, will lead a plenary on how to harness genome editing to develop tomorrow’s agriculture. Check out her profile as a female #foodhero at CropLife International and as one of the female entrepreneurs working on CRISPR in Chemical & Engineering News!

“The plenary symposium will provide an overview of the diverse applications of genome editing, ranging from gene discovery to editing for crop improvement, as well as the discovery of novel nucleases for application as diagnostic tools,” says Feuillet. Since crop biotechnology has always attracted its fair share of controversy and oversight, the talks will also discuss issues of societal acceptance and regulations in this expanding field.

The speakers include Pamela Ronald of the University of California, Davis. A renowned author, TED speaker, and rice geneticist, Ronald will talk about the ability to use CRISPR to insert a gene for beta-carotene — a precursor of Vitamin A, the goal of the golden rice project — in precise locations in the genome. That precision avoids the problematic side effects of earlier, random insertion events.

Omar Abudayyeh, a fellow at the McGovern Institute at MIT, will present “Harnessing Novel CRISPR Systems for Genome Engineering and Human Health” describing his research into novel genome editing tools. These include the RNA-targeting CRISPR Cas-13 system SHERLOCK, which has been repurposed to detect unique genetic signatures in human diseases and in plants.

Dirk Inzé, Science Director of the VIB-UGent Center for Systems Biology in Belgium will discuss his work editing multigenic traits in corn, such as yield and drought tolerance, in a talk entitled “Plant Science for Climate Emergency: the Pivotal Role of Genome Editing”.

Rounding out the talks, Feuillet will share her work at Inari on what goes into leading a small seed company to develop more efficient crops in her talk “Transforming Plant Breeding at Inari : Challenges and Opportunities”. Feuillet hopes attendees come away from the talks with a greater awareness of “the work done by leaders in plant genetics and genomics that are capturing the novel opportunities provided by genome editing to accelerate and enhance their work on crop improvement.”

In addition to shepherding her symposium at PlantBiology 2020, Feuillet is excited to join the conference because of “the opportunity to hear and meet with the best plant biology experts in the same place and hear about the latest results from their labs.”

Please join us online for this terrific symposium! Follow #PlantBio20 on Twitter and check the website for updates!

Post by Eric Hamilton and Jennifer Mach for Peridot Scientific Communications.

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