Scientists at Pennsylvania State University used the gene-altering technique Crispr to create a white-button mushroom that doesn’t turn brown as quickly, meaning it can sit in your fridge for longer than usual. And that mushroom may well be in your fridge soon. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent the lab a letter giving the mushrooms a thumbs up, thus, for the first time, clearing a food altered with Crispr. This is a really big deal—and not just for mushroom lovers.
“The new technology,” University of Minnesota biologist Daniel F. Voytas told Scientific American last month, “is necessitating a rethinking of what a GMO is.” Typically, when scientists have sought to genetically modify crops, they’ve relied on techniques that splice genes from one species into another—adding, for example, a bit of flounder DNA to a tomato to help it survive colder temperatures. FULL REPORT