Positive Impacts Of Agriculture On The Environment – Climate change poses serious threats to agricultural systems, food security, and human nutrition. Meanwhile, efforts have been made to improve the performance of various traits through gene editing of crops and livestock. Many of the targeted phenotypes contain attributes that may be beneficial for adaptation to climate change. Here we present examples of new gene editing applications and research efforts aimed at improving crops and livestock in response to climate change, and discuss their technical limitations and opportunities. So far, there are only a few applications of gene editing in agricultural production, but numerous studies in the research field demonstrate the potential for powerful applications to combat climate change in the near future. .

Climate change poses a serious threat to the future of agriculture, biodiversity, human society, and the environment that touches almost every aspect of the world. The main cause of climate change is the anthropogenic addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. These human emissions have increased global average temperatures by nearly 1°C since 1850 (IPCC, 2018; Nunez et al., 2019). Even if we were to limit global warming to 1.5°C, which would require radical and immediate action on a global scale, the long-term effects of past emissions would remain for centuries or even millennia (IPCC, 2018). The magnitude of the impact depends on the amount of emissions. In general, heat waves, droughts, and floods are expected to become more frequent, and sustained sea level rise and global temperature increases are expected (IPCC, 2018). Indeed, many of these effects have already been observed (IPCC, 2018; Nunez et al., 2019; Shukla et al., in press).

Positive Impacts Of Agriculture On The Environment

In both natural ecosystems and agricultural environments, plants and animals are forced to contend with new conditions that change faster than they can adapt. Rising temperatures and changing precipitation regimes are dramatically altering biological landscapes, resulting in species migration, invasions, and extinctions (Urban, 2015; Nunez et al., 2019). One meta-review of over 130 studies estimated that one in six species could become extinct due to climate change (Urban, 2015). At the same time, the world’s food supply is decreasing as droughts and floods impact agricultural production. Agricultural output is expected to decline globally under various warming scenarios. Productivity of major commercial crops will be affected, particularly at lower latitudes where the effects of climate change on yields will be more severe (Shukla et al., in press).

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In response to these challenges, the use of gene editing, also known as genome editing or genome engineering, has emerged as a way to help organisms adapt to climate change and to mitigate the effects of climate change on agriculture. .

Gene editing is a method of producing DNA modifications at precise locations in the genome. These modifications can result in the knockout or knockdown of one or more genes without permanently inserting foreign DNA. Alternatively, genes from within an organism’s gene pool or from other organisms can be inserted into precise locations within the genome to knock in new traits. Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), and CRISPR/Cas systems have all been utilized to achieve precise gene editing (Gaj et al., 2016; Khalil, 2020 ). Although the precision and efficiency of generating edits has been greatly improved with the introduction of the CRISPR/Cas system, there is certainly still a role for other gene editing technologies. The application of gene editing technology offers great potential for developing crops and livestock that can better manage the effects of climate change.

We here highlight current efforts to apply gene editing techniques to crops and livestock, and seek to uncover how gene editing can help combat the negative effects of climate change. We summarize the efforts that have been made to date and discuss the limitations and opportunities that exist with gene editing technologies. Tables 1–4 provided at the end of the review summarize the scope of gene editing applications in crops and livestock.

The effects of climate change are already beginning to be felt and will undoubtedly get worse. Currently, crops in lower latitudes are beginning to experience yield declines, while yields in higher latitudes are increasing (Iizumi et al., 2018; Shukla et al., in press). However, a decline in global yields and crop suitability is predicted during this century as a direct result of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), extreme weather events disrupt and reduce global food supplies and cause food price increases (Shukla et al., in press). Climate change and desertification are likely to reduce agricultural productivity, especially in arid regions of the planet. Regions close to the equator are most vulnerable to declining crop yields as temperatures rise, and the most populous continents of Asia and Africa are vulnerable to increasing desertification. Indeed, desertification has already begun to reduce agricultural productivity and biodiversity, which is further exacerbated by unsustainable land management and increasing population pressures. The extent to which global aridity will increase is unknown, but areas at risk of salinization are likely to increase. Climate change will also contribute to current land degradation through increased drought, flooding, sea level rise, and more intense tropical storms (Shukla et al., in press).

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) (IPCC, 2018; Shukla et al., in press), which generally has a positive effect on plant growth. As a C.O.

Fertilization) (Wang et al., 2020). But at the same time, the nutritional value of food decreases as carbon dioxide increases.

The effects of fertilization over the past 30 years are likely due to changes in nutrient concentrations and decreased water availability (Wang et al., 2020). Given the aforementioned increases in extreme temperatures and precipitation, coupled with changes in the prevalence and range of diseases around the world (Fisher et al., 2012; Bett et al., 2017), climate change is likely to affect crops. The overall effect would be detrimental. (Iizumi et al., 2018; Shukla et al., in press). Already, global maize, wheat, and soybean yields have decreased slightly from 1981 to 2010 compared to pre-industrial climate (Iizumi et al., 2018).

Livestock will be similarly adversely affected by climate change. Rising temperatures and changes in precipitation have a direct impact on livestock themselves, the crops grown for feed, and the diseases they infect (Rojas-Downing et al., 2017; Shukla et al., in press). Rising temperatures will probably have the most severe impact on livestock. Heat stress can affect feed intake, reduce weight gain, reduce reproductive efficiency, have multiple negative health effects, and increase mortality in many livestock species (Rojas-Downing et al. ., 2017).

The Inhibitory Effect Of Agricultural Fiscal Expenditure On Agricultural Green Total Factor Productivity

Beyond agriculture, the impact of climate change on biodiversity is equally severe. A recent meta-review of 97 studies found that even moderate increases in global temperature would result in significant biodiversity declines (Nunez et al., 2019 ). Climate change pressures on biodiversity, combined with increased agricultural demand, often contribute to exacerbating the tensions between agriculture and the natural landscape. The individual and intersecting effects of climate change are complex. Overall, the direct and indirect effects of climate change will negatively impact the performance of plants and animals in cultivation systems (Figure 1).

Reducing the negative impacts of climate change on biodiversity is of paramount importance. However, most of the applications of gene editing have focused on agricultural products, and there are few examples of gene editing for climate change in non-commodity organisms. This review therefore explores how gene editing solutions can address the broader impacts of climate change on agriculture, while maintaining the importance of applying these innovative technologies across biodiversity threatened by climate change. The focus is on what can be done.

Here, we present a broad exploration of gene editing-based solutions to address the formidable limitations placed on agricultural productivity by climate change. Please note that these examples primarily come from public institutions and are proof-of-concept experiments rather than commercialized technologies.

Abiotic stresses, including but not limited to drought, salinity, and flooding, pose the most serious threat to agricultural productivity in the face of climate change. Abiotic stresses in agricultural systems are expected to become more severe as a result of climate change. Current research efforts have demonstrated that gene editing is an effective tool to expand resistance in crop resistance, as described in the examples below (Table 1, Figure 2).

Soil Health Is Affected By Industrial Agriculture

Figure 2. Orange for land conservation, blue for nutrition, red for abiotic stress tolerance, and green for improved gene editing for disease. (A,B) MSTN gene editing in livestock improves muscle yield in various organisms. (B) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated MSTN editing of red sea bream (left) and wild type (right) (Kishimoto et al., 2018). Edited red sea bream showed an average increase in skeletal muscle mass of 16%. (C) TALEN-enabled MSTN-edited cows (right) and wild type (left) show increased overall mass and muscle mass (Proudfoot et al., 2015). (C) CRISPR/Cas9 promoter editing of tomato CLV3, S, and SP promoted new variations and enhancements in tomato fruit size, floral structure, and overall structure. The edited tomato (right) has enlarged fruit size and increased number of lobules (Rodríguez-Leal et al., 2017). (D) CRISPR/Cas9-edited LCYε enhanced beta-carotene accumulation in edited bananas (right) by almost 6-fold compared to wild type (left) in some lines.

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