Biryani boost: Raft of gene editing innovations can improve rice quality and flavors

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Credit: Food Network
Credit: Food Network

Today, biryani is a staple in millions of kitchens around the world. And yet, no two are alike.

Myriad add-ons turn this aromatic rice-based curry into a feast for royalty—from luscious tomatoes and slivers of carrot to hints of apple and aubergine. And, of course, there’s the unique combination of South Asian and Middle Eastern spices and condiments—like chutney, raita, dahl, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, bay leaves, coriander, or mint.

In fact, so many regularly eat the dish that making a better biryani has virtually become an international project unto itself.

That’s where gene editing innovations like CRISPR can join the table. The method is capable of producing more hardy, nutritious, flavorful ingredients—with less resource depletion, greater pest resistance, and enhanced climate adaptability.

Dozens of CRISPR research initiatives tackle every aspect of rice seeding and production. One is bolstering resistance to rice blast — one of the most destructive diseases affecting rice crops worldwide.

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[In addition,] various researchers are employing gene-specific editing to help make our savory spice crops tastier, easier to grow, and more resilient.

For all cookers and lovers of biryani—whether as a go-to dinner or celebratory dish—the secret ingredient you could soon be after is gene editing.

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