Genetic engineering can make food healthier, improve nutrition and reduce environmental impact. To demonstrate its potential, Cellectis hosted a dinner featuring futuristic food technology.
Cellectis is a French company that develops immuno-oncology therapies and became famous last year when its CAR-T treatment saved a 1-year old girl from leukemia. Its gene-editing TALEN technology is also used by its subsidiary, Calyxt, to develop healthier food.
Both companies hosted a dinner in New York featuring gene-edited soybeans and potatoes. Expert chefs from Ducasse Conseil in France worked for 6 months on elaborate recipes for these new ingredients.
How does the technology make the plants healthier? The gene-edited potatoes lack an enzyme to degrade starch, which protects them from forming carcinogenic acrylamide when being cooked after being stored in the cold. The deletion also increases the production yield by 15%.
In the case of soy, the modification increases the oleic acid content, removing the necessity to hydrogenate the oil to improve stability and shelf life.