The world’s very first CRISPR meal was eaten by a researcher recently. It consisted of a vegetable fry topping on a bed of pasta.
Plants changed by genetic scissors in accordance with CRISPR-Cas 9 technology have been grown, collected and eaten after being cooked. This strange and bizarre act occurred when a professor served pasta with a vegetable fry topping that had been transformed genetically by CRISPR technology.
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While this meal only fed two people, in the later applications of this principle in the future, whole populations could rely for their food supply on CRISPR technology.
Thanks to science, now we can have healthy, fresh and tasty plants. CRISPR-Cas 9 is a form of genetic modification technology that changes the genes of the cells in an organism be it an animal or a plant.
This method came on the scene four years ago. It has been termed the Swiss Army Knife of gene technology methods. It will go a long way in bringing about huge changes in the way the world works.
Even a single letter of the genomic sequencing of an organism, if it is changed by CRISPR technology, leads to vast changes in its outer and inner expression.
This process resembles editing and proofreading in its scope. No wonder it has been called gene editing. Already we are being introduced to some of the miracles and wonders it has made possible.
From cures for inheritable diseases to changes in agricultural produce, it is a very powerful method of manipulation and a potent agent of change.
Yet in the field of agriculture, permission from farmers is not guaranteed since many see GM foods as a sort of fake and “Frankenstein Crops” issue. Since the laws of many of the lands disallow any growing of GM crops, the use of this technology may be suspect.
While the EU gave its stamp of disapproval to this gene editing in crops, the Swedish Board of Agriculture brought the fact into consideration that no genes were inserted into the plants and only a few genes were deleted.
Therefore this technology does not come under the rubric of GM crops. Thus cultivation could take place without any prior permission. A few plants were cultivated using CRISPR technology outside of any farmlands.
This has been a closely guarded secret (up until now). A cabbage plant was grown. Therefore the first meal using CRISPR technology was Tagliatelle with CRISPRy fried vegetables.
This marks the takeover of agriculture by particlarly man-made strategies instead of reliance on the forces of Nature alone. It is a bold and beautiful step whose full implications remain to be seen.