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New DNA Editing Technology Is Sneaking Into The Food Chain

January 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Several companies are using a technology known as “gene editing” to tinker with DNA at exact locations and create crops that are more nutritious or more resistant to spoiling. Gene editing is not the same as genetic modification, so it is not covered by the federal law passed last year requiring labeling of food products containing GMO ingredients. The USDA has approved edited crops if the companies creating them show they do not introduce foreign genes from plant pests. The result is that hundreds of acres of gene-edited crops have already been grown in several states, without oversight or regulation. Companies active in plant gene editing technology include DuPont Pioneer and Calyxt, a subsidiary of Cellectis. Another company, Recombinetics, is applying the technology in farm animals. [Gene-edited soybeans; image credit: ©  Calyxt]
Kenneth Chang, "These Foods Aren’t Genetically Modified but They Are ‘Edited’", The New York Times, January 09, 2017, © The New York Times Company
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