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CRISPR-edited mushroom dodges U.S. regulators

A genetically modified white button mushroom, on track to be the first CRISPR-edited organism sold in the United States, will not be regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Scientific American reports. USDA said it will not count the mushroom, edited to reduce the enzyme activity that leads to browning, as regulated, making it one of about 30 such genetically modified organisms. Until this week, USDA’s stance on the CRISPR-Cas9 system, which allows gene editing much more quickly and easily than in the past, was unclear. Now, the agency says that because the method does not use foreign DNA from viruses or bacteria, it doesn’t trigger the agency’s oversight. But don’t expect to see the mushroom in your grocery aisle anytime soon: There are no plans yet to bring it to market.


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