Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Nothing to Fear

Rather than off-the bat criticizing CRISPR-edited food, Popular Science says that people should evaluate it using science, noting that the approach could bolster the global food supply.

Researchers have used a CRISPR-based technique to develop a mushroom that resists browning, PopSci's Jen Schwartz says. As the US Department of Agriculture decided that the mushroom didn't fall under its regulatory scope, Schwartz reports that some people have become concerned that edited food would be heading to the market without oversight. But the USDA regulates genetically modified plants that have a potential of becoming pests and as CRISPR-based editing doesn't use bacterial or viral vectors, the agency said it didn't fall under their regulatory scheme, Schwartz says. She notes, though, that the Food and Drug Administration may still weigh in on the mushroom.

She further adds that even browning-resistant mushrooms could be a boon to the food supply, as if the mushrooms don't brown, they are less likely to be thrown out.

Schwartz also argues that since CRISPR is easier to wield than other approaches, it levels the playing field. "It democratizes the technology so engineered plants are not just the domain of a handful of huge companies making feed crops, but can be done by one guy in a university lab with a great idea," she adds.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.