FDA-approved edible cotton could help meet global protein demand

cotton seeds
Edible cotton

The US Food and Drug Administration announced this month that a genetically modified cottonseed has been approved for human consumption. Researchers engineered the cotton plants to block the activity of the gene for an enzyme called δ-cadinene synthase in their seeds, which in turn prevents the seeds from making a toxin called gossypol. The plant had already been deregulated by the US Department of Agriculture last year.

[The Scientist, TS] spoke with Keerti Rathore, a plant scientist at Texas A&M, about why he saw a need for edible cottonseed, and how his team developed it.

TS: Do you think edible cotton could also have an impact on food insecurity?

KR: There are enough calories [being produced] to satisfy all the people in the world right now. But what we do not have are the nutrients, and protein being one of the biggest nutrients that is lacking in the diets of a lot of poor people. So it’s more [about] nutrition security rather than food security. Now that we have approval in the US, we will start looking at other countries.

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Read full, original article: The Long Road to Edible Cottonseed

Related article:  Tweaking two genes in cotton doubles crop yields—and may do the same in wheat, rice and corn
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