We’ve come a long way in our ability to leverage science for better food products. In just a few generations, we’ve gone from selective breeding to rewriting genetic codes. CRISPR gene editing is the newest — and perhaps most promising — way that we can strengthen and protect the global food supply. What exactly is CRISPR, and how is it different from other means of food enhancement? Learn more about the benefits of CRISPR design below.
What Is CRISPR?
CRISPR is shorthand for a new type of gene editing. It stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats. It’s a mouthful, but it’s actually a cleaner and more advanced way to slowly change the characteristics of food products. In short, CRISPR uses microorganisms such as bacteria to target specific genes in order to edit or replace them. Those bacteria are naturally guided via RNA to very specific genes. You’ll also run into the CRISPR-Cas9 system, which is more or less the vehicle by which CRISPR can be done.
It’s a far more advanced means of editing genes, and it can be done much more cheaply than other methods. Which brings us to the next question…
How Is CRISPR Different Than GMO?
Much of this answer has to do with process. Whereas traditional GMO techniques have used viruses to hunt down and replace DNA, CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing uses precision to carve up genes on a tiny scale. In other words, it’s like a tune-up compared to a demolition. Moreover, previous methods didn’t always work. Counting on a virus to get the job done is risky, as it might never make it to where you need to be, or the end result might be a far cry from what you were trying to accomplish.
What Are the Benefits of CRISPR Gene Editing?
CRISPR is primarily recognized for its use as a comprehensive gene editor, but that’s just one piece. CRISPR applications are pretty expansive.
CRISPR can be used to diagnose diseases in humans, animals and plants alike. For our purposes, CRISPR can help growers identify potentially devastating diseases before they get out of hand. Similarly, the CRISPR method can help farmers get ahead of fungi right when they first appear.
Finally, CRISPR is a safer way to keep the right balance. For example, antibiotics used in livestock not only run the risk of creating superbugs, but they alter the delicate microbiome — which depends on a variety of “good” bacteria. CRISPR can target a specific bacterium, allowing you to home in on whatever is causing problems.
Where Does PacMoore Stand on CRISPR Technology?
As far as food manufacturers go, PacMoore embraces promising technologies and techniques. We view CRISPR as one of the most promising gene editing methods to date. We work closely with our customers to identify their unique food manufacturing needs and understand what new technologies they are embracing. To learn more about CRISPR and what we can do for you, contact PacMoore today.