Gene editing: The key to food security in a warmer world?

Extreme droughts and floods threaten global food security. Scientists gene editing crops say they have the answer. But enviornmentalists are wary.

Farmers in Zimbabwe are struggling to adapt to changing weather conditions. Maize crops narrowly pull through a drought, only to be drowned in heavy rainfalls months later.

It’s a pattern familiar across the globe. Rising temperatures and irregular rainfall are making food production more difficult.

And things look set to get worse over the coming decades. More than a quarter of the world’s land could face permanent drought if the global temperature rises by 2 degrees Celsius, according to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change.

Global warming is also increasing the spread of plant diseases and infections that flourish in hot, damp conditions.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in it latest report, from 2014, that climate change could impact all aspects of food security, including production, access and prices.

Global food production could fall by more than 20 percent by 2050, researchers at the Center of Development Research at the University of Bonn have calculated. At the same time, the global population is projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050.

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