The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced early this week that a genetically-edited mushroom made with CRISPR does not enter in the genetically modified crops (GMO) regulation due to its lack of external DNA .
It is a white mushroom edited while using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) by a plant pathologist at Penn State, Dr. Yinong Yang. Yang altered the plant’s DNA to stop the mushroom from turning brown and created a whiter result, as reported by Techcrunch.
Since its creation there have been a debate over if the plant should qualify or not to the GMO regulations, starting a debate over some of the already existing gene-edited plants and the use of external bacterias to create resistance.
The USDA came to the conclusion that the mushroom did not contain any introduced genetic material that would make it relevant for any current regulation, according to a letter wrote by Michael J. Firko, Deputy Administrator at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
In addition, Firko also concluded that the plant was not listed as a federal noxious weed pursuant to the organization and that APHIS did not have any reason to believe that the anti-browning phenotype of the white mushroom would increase the weediness of the white button plant, he added.
“Consistent with previous responses to similar letters of inquiry, APHIs does not consider CRISPR/Cas9-edited white button mushrooms as described in your October 30, 2015 letter to be regulated pursuant to 7 CFR part 340” commented Firko.
Dr. Yang tried and succeeded the DNA modification of a mushroom to avoid the brownness when it came into contact with oxygen due to an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, as reported by Popsci.
To avoid the color, the scientist deleted some of the genes that create the already mentioned enzyme and avoid the color changing caused by the process in a 30 %. The doctor is currently considering the possibility of starting a business around its creation.