Spinach. Tomato. Watermelon. Broccoli.
Besides being good for you, these four vegetables are just a few that could benefit — and benefit humans in turn — from gene editing.
“This goes beyond just dealing with disease and pathogens, enhancing nutrition in vegetables is a very exciting prospect,” said Corinne Marshall, intellectual property and licensing manager for Sakata Seed America Inc.
Marshall spoke about the promise of the CRISPR-CAS9 gene editing technology as a way to both boost supplies of vegetables to consumers and to increase the nutrition that diners get from those vegetables.
Marshall said conventional methods, from spraying to breeding plants for resistance, present challenges, from prohibiting growers from selling produce as organic to prohibitive expense.
And so, gene editing could hold the key.
“Compared with traditional backcross methods or mutagenesis, gene editing is more precise and more efficient,” Marshall said.
The technology could enable vegetables to more readily make their nutrients available.
“Lycopine and glucosinolates in broccoli can reduce chronic disease or slow disease such as cancer. Sulforaphane is a glucosinolate in broccoli, and most of us know that when we cook broccoli, we lose the nutrients. So gene editing can actually help us solve that problem and extend the nutrient to the cooked vegetable,” Marshall said.
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