The first CRISPR mushroom will go on sale in the USA
Alexander Ershov, N+1
The US Department of Agriculture refused to regulate the turnover of GMO mushrooms that do not darken in the air. These mushrooms may become the first food produced using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, reports Nature (Gene-edited CRISPR mushroom escapes US regulation).
GM mushrooms were made by an employee of the University of Pennsylvania, Yinong Yang (Yinong Yang). The idea of the scientist was to reduce the activity of the enzyme polyphenol oxidase PPO, which is responsible for darkening not only fungi, but also plants in the air – for example, apples (it is non-darkening GM apples that became a source of inspiration for the researcher).
In the genome of the mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, there are six copies of the PPO gene. With the help of the introduction of the Cas9 enzyme and a guide RNA with an identical gene sequence, Young managed to knock out only one of them. Nevertheless, even this was enough to reduce the activity of the enzyme by almost a third and significantly prolong the "visual lifetime" of the product.
The main argument of the Ministry against regulating the turnover of GM champignons is that the mushrooms do not carry foreign DNA. Exactly the same property (turning off one of the copies of the gene) could have been acquired accidentally, as a result of a common mutation that is introduced by traditional selection. Now, although product registration with the Ministry of Agriculture is not required, the mushroom producer can voluntarily submit the product for FDA inspection.
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