"A gene-editing startup wants to help you eat healthier salads. This month,
North Carolina–based Pairwise is rolling out a new type of mustard greens
engineered to be less bitter than the original plant. The vegetable is the
first Crispr-edited food to hit the US market.
Mustard greens are packed with vitamins and minerals but have a strong peppery
flavor when eaten raw. To make them more palatable, they're usually cooked.
Pairwise wanted to retain the health benefits of mustard greens but make them
tastier to the average shopper, so scientists at the company used the
DNA-editing tool Crispr to remove a gene responsible for their pungency. The
company hopes consumers will opt for its greens over less nutritious ones like
iceberg and butter lettuce.
“We basically created a new category of salad,” says Tom Adams, cofounder and
CEO of Pairwise. The greens will initially be available in select restaurants
and other outlets in the Minneapolis–St. Paul region, St. Louis, and
Springfield, Massachusetts. The company plans to start stocking the greens in
grocery stores this summer, likely in the Pacific Northwest first.
A naturally occurring part of bacteria’s immune system, Crispr was first
harnessed as a gene-editing tool in 2012. Ever since, scientists have
envisioned lofty uses for the technique. If you could tweak the genetic code of
plants, you could—at least in theory—install any number of favorable traits
into them. For instance, you could make crops that produce larger yields,
resist pests and disease, or require less water. Crispr has yet to end world
hunger, but in the short term, it may give consumers more variety in what they
Via Future Crunch
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics