CRISPR editing
Microbiome/Genomics

CRISPR editing for crisper greens

“Apples that don’t brown. Lettuce that never wilts. Strawberries that burst with flavor.” That’s the promise of CRISPR editing of these products by the company Pairwise, who’ve just raised USD90m in Series B funding.

Their first commercial product will be “a new type of leafy green” with the eating quality of romaine lettuce and the nutrition of kale.

The most important part of the article though is around social licence. I completely agree that we cannot afford a GMO type debacle with CRISPR gene editing. Transparency and telling consumers what’s in it for them will be paramount. However, let’s not forget that there are those who will be against the technology no matter what the science says. If you doubt that just look at the resistance to the COVID vaccines!

The other thing which could help is explaining how a lot of the current crops were developed. I wonder how many people would be horrified to learn that mutagenic chemicals and gamma irradiation are the most commonly used methods to generate new plant traits! I wonder how many “off-target” mutations occur using these methods vs CRISPR etc.?

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