Apr 16, 2016

Penn Researcher uses CRISPR/Cas9 to snip out tiny piece of DNA from gene in white button mushroom

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food

CRISPR to improve shelf life of vegetables and fruits. I magine what this would mean for populations in remote locations with horrible climates or in disaster zones that need fresh foods.

Yinong Yang, a Penn State University researcher, has used a famous gene editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9 for cutting out a small piece of DNA from one specific gene in a white button mushroom. With this, Yang was able to stop the gene, which in turn cuts the production of an enzyme known as polyphenol oxidase in mushroom. With this gene editing of white mushrooms, the mushroom doesn’t get spoiled as natural mushrooms.

You might have heard something like this earlier as scientists have also developed non-browning versions of apples and potatoes. However, those crops were called GMOs as scientists had put in new, slightly altered genes within those plants to ‘silence’ the natural gene.

Last fall, Yang wrote a letter to the US Department of Agriculture, wherein he asked whether his mushroom would be subject to regulation by the USDA. The USDA replied this week saying no.

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