The use of CRISPR editing in food has been studied by various researchers around the world. There have been some interesting characteristics that have been created with CRISPR editing. In this article, we are going to showcase some of these interesting developments.
1. Mushrooms that don't turn brown
Yinong Yang developed a mushroom that doesn't turn brown with the use of CRISPR editing technology. This was achieved by knocking out the gene for polyphenol oxidase (PPO) which is the enzyme responsible for the browning. As the mushrooms can retain their colour, the mushrooms may have a longer shelf life.
2. Fusarium wilt resistance in bananas
Cavendish bananas are susceptible to a wide range of diseases, in particular, a fungal disease known as fusarium wilt tropical race 4 causes significant damage to the growth and quality of bananas, therefore, this disease could devastate the banana industry. Researchers have suggested that CRISPR editing could be used to develop resistance against fusarium wilt tropical race 4 in bananas.
3. A spicy tomato
Capsaicinoid producing genes give chillies "heat". The same genes that can produce capsaicinoids have also been found in tomatoes. Emmanuel Rezende Naves and colleagues have explored the idea of activating the capsaicinoids genes in tomatoes using CRISPR to create a similar taste. Imagine eating a spicy tomato, that would be so weird but cool!
4. Seedless fruits
Apparently, seedless fruits are in high demand for taste reasons and because choking on a seed is such an inconvenience right! In a study, a CRISPR knockout of the SIAGL6 and SIIAA9 gene was able to remove seeds in the tomatoes. The researchers suggest that this technology could be applied to a range of other fruits such as watermelon, grapes, oranges, etc.
5. Plants with lower carbon dioxide emissions
Plants contribute to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere thus accelerate global warming. Joanne Chory is trying to use CRISPR editing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from plants. Chory wants to reduce this by increasing the storage of carbon dioxide in the plant's roots. Theoretically, this should lower carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere and subsequently delay climate change.