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
By Julia Conley
A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.
By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.
By Jeff Turrentine
From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.
Cell Phone Tracking Analysis Shows Where Florida Springbreakers and New Yorkers Fleeing Coronavirus Went to Next
By Eoin Higgins
A viral video showing cell phone data collected by location accuracy company X-Mode from spring break partiers potentially spreading the coronavirus around the U.S. has brought up questions of digital privacy even as it shows convincingly the importance of staying home to defeat the disease.