Thoughts on the Escape of the Gene-edited Crispr Mushroom from US regulation
Note: Although heralded by some scientists as a breakthrough, re: “The research community will be very happy with the news,” says Caixia Gao, a plant biologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’s Institute of #Genetics and Developmental #Biology in Beijing."
I am one researcher who does not agree. I strongly recommend caution. Using #Crispr gene editing, scientists interfered with polyphenol oxidase (tyrosinase) production to produce a button (Agaricus bisporus) strain that does not brown. What these researchers apparently did not know is that my research has found that this pathway is responsible for many novel antivirals. (See http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser…).
#Mushrooms have developed novel antivirals that protect them, and by extrapolation us. By interfering with this polyphenol pathway, I am concerned that they have defeated the endogenous natural antiviral defenses. What does this mean? Time will tell. I hope this does not lead to new reservoirs of hyper-viruses that can now emerge unchecked by the natural genome. In scientific terms, this could be a big "OOPS" ! The hubris of scientists playing with such powerful technology without consideration of downstream consequences is potentially dangerous. Genes code for many activities. Defeating them for one purpose may cause unforeseen consequences far more important than creating cosmetically beautiful mushrooms that will sell longer in the grocery stores. #fungi