Modified mushrooms not considered as GMO
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulators pondered an outwardly unremarkable mushroom for two and a half years before they decided its GMO status earlier this month, according to Grist. This was a regular old button mushroom, but there was one little difference. Researchers at Penn State had tweaked one of the fungi’s genes, so that it wouldn’t turn brown if left it in the refrigerator too long. The researchers hadn’t inserted any DNA from another species. They’d just altered a few sections of the mushroom’s DNA.
So can this mushroom be considered as GMO? The scientists had taken an O and M’d the G’s. But this M (which stands for “modification”) was a pretty small change, smaller than mutations that occur routinely in nature. On the 13th of April, it was decided that the mushroom wasn’t GMO enough to register on the regulatory radar.
This decision was a lot bigger than a mushroom. It was the first time that U.S. regulators considered a crop modified with CRISPR. Ruling that it’s not a GMO makes it exempt from oversight, a decision likely to throw open the doors to similarly tweaked crops. “It’s hard to think of a technology that has as swiftly and profoundly changed a vast range of scientific fields as CRISPR-Cas9,” wrote Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, in a recent article.“It is so cheap, radical, and revolutionary that its use has pumped entire fields of investigation into instant overdrive.”
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