Pharmer Bill: #1 Owner of American Farmland :: By Geri Ungurean

And CRISPR plays a big part in Pharming!

Isn’t this ‘phun’? written in 2018

Pharming: the process of genetically modifying plants and animals so that they produce substances which may be used as pharmaceuticals. An outgrowth of genetic engineering, the technique has been branded ‘pharming.’

-Dubbed “pharming” by its opponents, this is the latest step in technology which allows medicines to be grown in plants.

-The genetic engineering of livestock for human medical applications is known as pharming.

-Then there’s what’s known as pharming – the relatively new practice of using genetically altered livestock to produce proteins used in pharmaceuticals.

-For example, there has been talk about southern agriculture specializing in growing GM plants that are used by the pharmaceutical industry (so-called pharming).

-Instead of using expensive pharmaceutical factories, advocates envisage fields of GM crops being harvested to reap new medicines cheaply, a process known as pharming.

-Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its guidelines for industrial pharming, but many scientists believe these are grossly inadequate.

-Recent mergers, as well as research into “bio – pharming,” have erased many boundaries between the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

-This is vital to prevent New Zealand being exploited as a ‘wild west’ playground for inappropriate and unethical developments like ‘pharming.’

-Rissler and Ellstrand argue that pharming should be strictly limited to nonfood crops – to, say, tobacco or castor beans.

-Pharming” is a new field of research involving herds and flocks of animals that are transformed into chemical factories to produce pharmaceutical products.

[Recently I wrote an article in which “Vaccines in your Salad” was brought to light. I had an unusual number of people emailing me that I had gone off the rails. Perhaps after reading this article, those naysayers will be whistling a different tune. For the past week, I have been wondering about and researching reasons why Bill Gates has become the number one Farmland owner in the whole U.S. One thing was certain to me: it must have to do with VACCINES. Most of us know that VACCINES are near and dear to the heart (does he have one?) of Pharmer Bill:]

Plants in the CRISPR

From gene-edited human embryos to disease-free pigs for donor organs, applications of CRISPR/Cas9 technology are filling the headlines. But the impact of this gene-editing technique isn’t limited to biomedical research: Plant biologists are also using CRISPR to study molecular mechanisms underlying plant function, fight disease, and enhance plant productivity.

“The CRISPR craze has pretty much swept through plant biology,” says Dan Voytas of the University of Minnesota. “I would say most groups doing plant gene editing are using CRISPR or similar reagents.” As a result, CRISPR/Cas9 could prove pivotal in addressing the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population, which is expected to approach 10 billion by 2050.

New plant breeding

Transgenic plants (also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs) have been around for decades. But the insertion of foreign genes and DNA to produce desirable traits has prompted controversy as well as rejection of these plants by some consumers. In recent years, biologists have been developing more tailored methods for altering genomes that complement traditional plant breeding strategies and dovetail with new genetic tools. Until the advent of CRISPR within the past 5 years, one of the more promising gene-editing technologies was TAL effector nucleases (TALENs), which were developed from building blocks that occur naturally in plants.

However, CRISPR/Cas9 has largely overtaken other gene-editing techniques. Researchers tell similar stories: A few years ago, they started working on projects using both TALENs and CRISPR/Cas9 side-by-side but quickly settled on CRISPR. While both techniques offer precise editing, TALENs are large, complex proteins that must be newly synthesized for each mutation, says Becky Bart of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. But using CRISPR/Cas9, a researcher needs only to develop new guide RNAs, she says, and “very quickly you can test a bunch of constructs right in the lab.” As a result, CRISPR is both cheaper and faster, says Bing Yang of Iowa State University. And combining CRISPR with a traditional plant breeding program offers the most potential for making precise changes quickly.

That doesn’t mean TALENs and other methods are completely out of the picture, though. With the continuing uncertainty surrounding the patents and licensing of CRISPR technology, many companies are still centering their work around technologies such as TALENS and meganucleases, where the intellectual property rights are clear, says Voytas, who was one of the early developers of TALENs and is the Chief Science Officer of Calyxt—a Minnesota-based plant gene-editing company focusing on that technology (see “Legal and regulatory hurdles” sidebar).

Mining mutations

Scientists have long mined natural plant mutants that show up in fields or used random mutagenesis as a tool for understanding gene function in crops. “Hopefully, you hit a gene; hopefully, you get a change in the phenotype of interest, the trait of interest, and then you try to pin down which gene is broken,” says Zach Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. His laboratory focuses on understanding the flowering process, particularly in tomatoes and the related Solanaceae (nightshade) family, so that they can ultimately manipulate the process to improve agriculture.

[Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is a rather long article, and for those who wish to read it in its entirety, they can click HERE. But for the purpose of posting this piece, I will go right to the last few paragraphs. There you will see how the author plopped in the word we were all waiting for:]

Limitless possibilities

Despite the technical hurdles, CRISPR/Cas9 is changing plant biology as fast as it is revolutionizing other fields. Just a few years ago, a research article might have highlighted the ability to mutate plant genes using CRISPR, but now the title touts a better understanding of plant architecture, with CRISPR embedded in the Materials and Methods section. “I’m not saying that we don’t have a lot of work yet to do on technology development,” Voytas says, but he adds that it’s satisfying to see this shift. “It’s become the tool and not the story.”

With the investments made by researchers and industry, Kamoun sees CRISPR-based gene-editing technology as maturing relatively rapidly in plants. “I think the challenge now becomes about finding the traits,” he says. For a long time, plant biologists didn’t have the tools to apply the knowledge that they’d gained about interesting plants’ genes and then deliver those results to farmers. But now they have the technology, he says. “We need more research to actually understand what all of the genes are doing in plants and how we can tweak them and improve them.”

After years of mostly reading genomes, researchers are editing and moving toward rewriting those genomes in increasingly sophisticated ways, Voytas says. Synthetic biology, though rudimentary right now, could help modify plant genes to produce rare metabolites or even PHARMACEUTICALS of interest. Such technologies could allow researchers to modify nutrient content to lower gluten levels in bread or optimize the fatty acid content in cooking oil. “The possibilities are limitless, but the editing allows us to start to harness and control those metabolic pathways,” he concludes. (emphasis added) source

So now, when you read about the “plant-based proteins” which Gates has in store for us to consume – PLEASE remember this article!!



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