The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Potato Company Simplot Licenses DowDuPont’s Gene Editing Tech
By Dan Nosowitz
The agricultural company J.R. Simplot Company, one of the largest potato producers in the world, struck a deal with the developers of a specific gene editing technology. That tech will allow Simplot to precisely edit the genomes of crops for various reasons: longer shelf life, drought resistance, aesthetic changes like a potato that doesn't brown when it's cut and exposed to oxygen.
The developers are DowDuPont, Harvard and MIT; the technology is a form of CRISPR, which is a technology that allows gene editing. With gene editing, an organism's genome can have bits deleted or added very easily. Interestingly, a few months ago, the USDA announced that it would not be regulating CRISPR-edited organisms the same way it does for other GMOs. The rationale there is that CRISPR is more like an accelerated form of selective cross-breeding. (Not everyone agrees that this is the right approach.)
Anyway, the deal allows Simplot, which actually produces food, to use this intellectual property in a fairly broad sense, experimenting to find out what best to do with it. None of the actual developers of the technology are in the food business, so they've licensed the tech to a company that is.
Simplot, based in Idaho, developed the frozen French fry and quickly became the dominant supplier of fries to fast food chains. Since then, the company has branched into seed, fertilizer, mining, cattle and all kinds of other categories broadly within agriculture. (It does not have a good agricultural record; in one example, the company dumped selenium from mines into Idaho waterways, causing two-headed trout.)
Simplot has also been a pioneer in agricultural tech developments; a few years ago, the company was approved to release the Innate potato, which is any of several types of potato that has been modified to resist browning and bruising. After an outcry, McDonald's declared it would not use this potato, though as with most genetically modified foods, there has been no indication that the Innate potato is dangerous.
According to the Associated Press, the newly licensed technology will be used in a variety of ways, but not for a few years, while the company figures out how best to use it.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
- Study Reveals 'Large-Scale Illegal Presence' of GMOs in India's ... ›
- Why Non-GMO Plant Based Proteins Are One Solution to Factory ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
It's become a familiar story with the Trump administration: Scientists write a report that shows the administration's policies will cause environmental damage, then the administration buries the report and fires the scientists.
By Jake Johnson
Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the U.S. and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled today a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.
The Parties to CITES agreed to list giraffes on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today at the World Wildlife Conference or CoP18 in Geneva. Such protections will ensure that all giraffe parts trade were legally acquired and not sourced from the poached giraffes trade and will require countries to make non-detriment findings before allowing giraffe exports. The listing will also enable the collection of international trade data for giraffes that might justify greater protections at both CITES and other venues in the future.
The WHO stressed that more research is needed on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion. luchschen / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The UN's health agency on Thursday said that microplastics contained in drinking water posed a "low" risk at their current levels.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) — in its first report on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion — also stressed more research was needed to reassure consumers.