CRISPR Mushrooms Coming Soon

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Plant pathologist Yinong Yang at Penn State University used the versatile gene-editing tool called CRISPR-Cas9 to design a button mushroom that resists browning and may have a longer shelf life.

CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. It's a relatively new and revolutionary way to modify an organism's genome by precisely delivering a DNA-cutting enzyme — Cas9 — to a targeted region of DNA. The resulting modification can delete or replace specific DNA pieces, thereby promoting or disabling certain traits.

In this case, the gene editing reduces production of a specific enzyme that causes mushrooms to turn brown. The end product is a mushroom with longer shelf life that resists blemishes caused by handling or mechanical harvesting — but without DNA from a foreign organism.

NIFA supported the program through the Hatch Act.

Read more at Penn State.

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