Quite rarely simple and banal dinner marks a huge step forward for science. Meanwhile, in Sweden recently, there was one such case: Two men tried pasta dishes and grilled vegetables.
Many will ask, what is there historic moment? The point, rather, in the historical component: Taste the cabbage had a gene, edited by a CRISPR-Cas9 technology.
Scientists from the University of Umeå for the first time raised "edited" vegetable outside the laboratory, and then harvest, cooked and ate for dinner.
The genome editing technology CRISPR is a revolutionary and yet relatively simple method that allows scientists to make changes in the DNA of a living organism. Using this technology, researchers can remove some genetic mutations and thereby prevent hereditary diseases. By the way, experts have already tried this method in an attempt to save a person from various disorders, for example, from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, retinal dystrophy and even HIV. Application of the same technology in plants can increase their resistance to pests or weather conditions, as well as increase the yield and nutritional value of the products.
So, scientists from Sweden edited the cabbage genome by removing the PsbS protein, which is otherwise called the "safety valve in photosynthesis". Stefan Jansson, a professor of biology at Umeå University, planted the modified seeds and harvested crops in his own garden. Then he organized a dinner, which invited a local radio journalist Gustaf Klarin (Gustaf Klarin). Along with the fried "edited" cabbage, Janson cooked a tagliatelle (pasta) with chard (a subset of beets), cheese, onions and bread. Only on the list of dishes it becomes clear that the meal was quite successful.
"For our common joy and to some extent, to my surprise the food was very tasty. We both had supper with great pleasure. Gustav and did the same thought that cabbage was the best among the vegetables. I agreed with him, "- wrote in his blog Janson.
What is particularly important in this seemingly simple dinner? The fact that the cabbage has become the first in Europe with a vegetable edited genome, which was allowed to be cultivated outside the laboratory. Existing rules on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods are quite complex, and the plants covered by the definition of GMOs, in fact, can not be grown in Europe.
And to overcome this ban, the Umeå University research team applied to the Swedish Council for Agriculture for a permit that would allow cabbage varieties not to fall under the definition of GMOs. This worked: since a certain natural mutation also leads to the absence of the common vegetable protein PsbS. That is, it turns out that, in fact, the "modified" food is obtained and not modified at all. Scientists have simply repeated in the laboratory the evolutionary natural experiment (nature often asks the question "What will happen if ..?", Deactivating certain genes in DNA).
But back to the legal issues raised by Professor Jansson. Experts of the Swedish Board of Agriculture interpreted the law as follows: if the product is removed only DNA segment and it has not been implemented, "foreign DNA", that such products should not be regarded as a GMO. It's simple: you can not add a foreign gene fragments of DNA, but it is possible to remove "unnecessary".
However, is it possible to remove those that are not "removed" nature, the authorities in collaboration with the scientists have yet to solve. Researchers also are experimenting is within the above prescribed wording (at least until the modified text of the new law).
That is now possible to grow these plants are "in the wild" without prior authorization (Environmentalists fear that in this case the "edited" the organisms begin to conquer the territory of their own and spread around the world unchecked). Swedes found a way around the ban, which means "edited" products can begin to develop a new force.
Genetically modified cabbage grew in a garden outside the city of Umeå in the north of Sweden and does not look very different from ordinary cabbage. But it definitely represents a new stage in the development of agriculture, where scientific achievements will be introduced into new types of plants - the food of the future.
Recall that recently "Vesti.Nauka" covered actively discussed question about the possible dangers of GMO products: in the works about the dangers of GMOs, scientists have found numerous errors and fraud. That is all in vain frighten. Meanwhile, Russian authorities are going to be fined for the cultivation of GMO products.
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