Gene-edited, blight-resistant rice approved by USDA, Colombian regulators

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The Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have approved a genetically edited rice resistant to bacterial blight attack.

Food safety officials considered the breeding method used to produce the plant, concluding that it is not a transgenic [GMO] method and therefore the crop should be regulated as a conventional plant.

[T]he blight disease is caused by Xanthomonas oryzae, a bacterium that infects the veins of rice leaves, activating the overproduction of sugars the bacterium consumes to fuel its rapid growth. The infection causes blockages in the vascular system, causing the plant to wilt and die. If it is not detected in time, it can mean the loss of the harvest.

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[Editor’s note: This article was published in Spanish and has been translated and edited for clarity.]

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