CRISPR, which works by finding and then replacing, editing or deleting a genetic sequence inside an organism, is currently being tested in agricultural products in several countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Spain, among others. DuPont Pioneer is developing a strain of CRISPR-edited corn that could be on the market in five years. U.K. livestock company Genus Breeding is using CRISPR in animal embryos to breed healthier pigs and cows at a faster pace. Scientists at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Spain recently used CRISPR to edit wheat so that it’s safe for people with celiac disease. Berkeley, California, startup Caribou Biosciences, the first company to commercialize CRISPR technology, is working directly with Genus and DuPont to get edited crops and meat on store shelves faster.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about that prospect. Staunch anti-GMO advocates don’t know what to make of CRISPR-edited food yet, but they’re not so sure they want it on their plates. The technology isn’t waiting, though. Gene editing plants and livestock with CRISPR has picked up speed as the technology has recently become less complicated and more efficient.
“I think this technology can help produce better food that’s safer for people by preventing allergies,” Francisco Barro Losado, one of the researchers, tells OZY.
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