The All-Russian Research Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology (VNIISB) told Gazeta.Ru about work on new forms of potatoes that can be created using genome editing. The VNIISB laboratory explained that now research is being carried out on two genes.
One of them is LFY, which controls the transition of the plant to flowering. Its blocking made it possible to create non-blooming potatoes. Thus, the plant redirects the resources spent on flowering to the formation of tubers. Scientists believe that this will increase productivity.
The second gene that scientists have edited is EDR1. Inactivation of this gene leads to an increase in the resistance of potatoes to various diseases, primarily to fungal ones.
As clarified in the laboratory of VNIISB, the obtained data on editing potato genes are now undergoing the stage of analysis of the results. New varieties of genetically edited potatoes have not yet been created.
As academician Gennady Karlov explained, there is a discussion at the legislative level - whether to equate genetically edited plants with genetically modified organisms.
“GMOs are not grown in our country, there is a moratorium on this. Genetically edited, most likely, will still be allowed. The essence of this new technology is that nothing extraneous is introduced there, just mutations in certain genes are introduced by genetic engineering methods,” Karlov added.
If legislators allow genetically edited plants, the question will arise of developing a full-cycle technology for creating basic crops.