The World's First Meal With Edited Food Has Been Served

While scientists have been working with plant and animal genomes to create foods that are hardy enough to withstand extreme weather conditions and disease, they haven’t had the pleasure of cooking and serving those foods until now. At least, not out in the open.

Using the CRISPR-Cas9, also known as “genetic scissors,” Stefan Jansson, professor in Plant Cell and Molecular Biology at Umeå University in Sweden, has done just that. According to a Umeå University press release, Jansson cooked and served tagliatelle pasta with crispy fried vegetables to a radio reporter.

Although no one has heard anything yet about taste, Jansson says “The CRISPR-plants in question grew in a pallet collar in a garden outside of Umeå in the north of Sweden and were neither particularly different nor nicer looking than anything else.”

The reason why this is a big deal is that this technology allows scientists to cut out and replace parts of DNA programming. Munchies reports that the process is different than that for GMOs, in that other types of DNA are not incorporated.

This “Swiss army knife” of plant science is for cutting DNA in order to create disease, drought and pesticide resistant crops, which is what researchers are working to achieve. That’s what we mean by “edited” food.

Scientists believe that the CRISPR could also potentially be used for cutting diseases such as cancer and HIV out of patient DNA, or to remove Malaria from mosquitos. They even think they might be able to cut diseases from human embryos so that babies aren’t born with certain genetic diseases. Of course, this is all research for the future. For right now, we are excited about genetically edited food.

We’ll likely be hearing more about this in the coming months and years. I’m sure that with it will come plenty of controversy as well. Food will probably have to be labeled as genetically altered, although not as a GMO. Either way, this is an exciting time for science…and food!