Building the Future with Biotech:
How Biotech is Shaping the Agricultural Landscape

Farmers have been changing plants and animals for over 10,000 years, selecting those with desired traits to breed the next generation. Around the same time, people began using microorganisms to process foods. These early forms of agricultural biotechnology resulted in improved crops and livestock and in products like yogurt, bread, and beer.

Today, scientists are using modern biotechnology tools, like gene editing, to make precise genetic changes and more quickly develop plants, animals, and microbes with desired traits. The responsible application of emerging biotechnology can increase resiliency and sustainability in agriculture, and further progress will require a collaborative approach involving scientists, policymakers, and the public. This paper explores three examples that represent the broader benefits of leveraging emerging biotechnology in agriculture. The National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology is currently developing policy recommendations that will lower barriers to entry for products like these, and potentially allow more researchers to leverage biotechnology for agricultural applications that can support U.S. farmers and increase food security.