Crispy salads are here!

Berkeley professor Patrick Hsu on twitter: “Delighted to try out the world’s first CRISPR-edited salad”

I must say that I’m a bit envious and eager to taste this kind of Brassica juncea with the “mustard bomb” mechanism prevented by knocking-out multiple copies of the gene responsible for the bitter taste.

The brassica genus (including cabbage, mustard etc.) has been called “the dog of the plant word” because of its biodiversity. The fact that CRISPR pioneers Feng Zhang and David Liu are among the founders of the company (Pairwise, Durham, NC) adds spice to the story, even if the editing goal was to make the leafy green less pungent.

A few technical details are available from their correspondence with the USDA APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services. But the most interesting part is probably the marketing approach: being cool (the claim is “Grown with care. Grown to crave”) and CRISPR clear (a QR code on the package is expected to provide information about the process).

Pairwise has been sampling their salad blends in Seattle, Palo Alto, and Austin this summer and will be in select grocery stores in 2023 in the U.S. Japan led the way with other niche products: high-GABA tomatoes and CRISPR sashimi. 

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