Because of new genome editing techniques based on the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats hereby dubbed CRISPR has launched a new barrage of application for food, medicines, insects and even animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it will not regulate the potential cultivation and sale of a genetically modified (GMO) mushroom the same way it regulates conventional GMOs because the mushroom was made with the genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9.
The USDA announced in a letter last week that it had approved Pennsylvania State University plant pathologist Yinong Yang’s common white button mushroom (Agaricus bosporus) that’s engineered to be more resistant to browning. The anti-browning trait reduces the formation of brown pigment (melanin), improving the appearance and shelf life of mushroom, and facilitating automated mechanical harvesting.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has concluded that your CRISPR/Cas9-edited white button mushrooms as described do not contain any introduced genetic material. APHIS has no reason to believe that CRISPR/Cas9-edited white button mushrooms are plant pests.
But the bigger issue is that with the new process of genome manipulation, if you remove one gene without introducing any new modified genome material, it is not considered to be genetically modified. Can we say loophole?
The USDA decision is a perfect illustration of how weak our regulations for evaluating genetically engineered crops are, we should have a government body that specifically regulates GMOs. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency only regulates GMOs designed for pest control and the Food and Drug Administration considers all GMOs to be safe.
So what can you expect from this new CRISPR technique that is already in the works?
- Most egg allergies are caused by one of just four proteins in the white, altering the gene that encodes one of these in bacteria, the resulting protein no longer triggered an allergic reaction. The future could hold hypo allergic eggs.
- Honey bee modifications include the study of hygienic bees, the hope is to learn how to use the genome technique to increase hive health.
- Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, has attracted attention for their work transforming endangered Indian elephants into woolly mammoths. The goal would be to release them into a reserve in Siberia, where they would have space to roam.
- A de-extinction project is underway to resurrect the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius).
- Researchers re-exploring the idea of genetically modifying mosquitoes to prevent the spread of diseases such as dengue or malaria with the new technique.
- Packing cattle into trailers has also become a topic of interest, by using the gene that creates polled characteristics with elite breeds they can reduce the damage caused by long horns when transporting animals. University of California is on top of that project.
- Customizing your pet, you want specific coat colors, size, this is not limited animals as it also extends into aquarium fish as long as you have the cash.
- DuPont is working on drought-resistant wheat and corn
A 2015 Pew Research Poll revealed that 57 percent of U.S. adults believe that GMO foods are “generally unsafe” to eat. With the break neck speeds that researchers are delivering products funded by corporate money, how we will ever believe that the products provided are safe for us and future generation along with the ecological impacts for years to come. Yet our government fails to deliver a timely solution. Hopefully while we wait we will not destroyed our only home in the process.
Vince Kirchner, a certified Permaculture instructor and an Ohio State University Master Gardener, is owner of Great Lakes Permaculture, Tiffin.
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AfrikaansAlbanianArabicArmenianAzerbaijaniBasqueBelarusianBengaliBosnianBulgarianCatalanCebuanoChichewaChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)CroatianCzechDanishDutchEnglishEsperantoEstonianFilipinoFinnishFrenchGalicianGeorgianGermanGreekGujaratiHaitian CreoleHausaHebrewHindiHmongHungarianIcelandicIgboIndonesianIrishItalianJapaneseJavaneseKannadaKazakhKhmerKoreanLaoLatinLatvianLithuanianMacedonianMalagasyMalayMalayalamMalteseMaoriMarathiMongolianMyanmar (Burmese)NepaliNorwegianPersianPolishPortuguesePunjabiRomanianRussianSerbianSesothoSinhalaSlovakSlovenianSomaliSpanishSundaneseSwahiliSwedishTajikTamilTeluguThaiTurkishUkrainianUrduUzbekVietnameseWelshYiddishYorubaZulu
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