“And alongside these changes in the world of information technology there are bio-tech changes coming which also challenge us to think about the future, and how best to shape it.
“Gene editing technology could help us to remove vulnerabilities to illness, develop higher yielding crops or more valuable livestock, indeed potentially even allow mankind to conquer the diseases to which we are vulnerable.”
Mr Gove said gene editing – a form of genetic engineering which involves changing or removing parts of an organism’s DNA – could allow farmers to “accelerate the process of breeding and evolution” to create a better quality of livestock.
“I alluded to the fact that gene editing in the future could provide all sorts of opportunities,” he said during a question and answer session after his speech.
“The science is still in its infancy but I do think it’s important that we regard gene editing as a means of science helping us to do faster what farmers have been doing for generations, which is essentially accelerate the process of breeding and evolution.
“I think we should have an open mind about that technology and not allow debates from the past to influence how we look at that technology.”