What is CRISPR?
CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaces Short Palindrome Repeats. The gene editing tool makes it easier for scientists to edit DNA strands that are cancerous or malignant.
CRISPR has been developed over the past 30 years. The tool has already produced revolutionary breakthroughs in the treatment of genetic diseases and in the future, it could change agriculture forever.
CRISPR introduces new traits into a plant by simply rewriting its genetic code. Genome editing techniques, such as Crispr can be used to generate plant varieties that are better adapted to our changing climate or that can contribute to improve our environment such as robust crops that require less or no agrochemicals or nutrients. Also, European consumers could benefit from e.g. genome edited healthier or better tasting vegetables.
On a global scale, genome edited plants would be a powerful tool to help increasing our food production by 70% which is the forecasted need by 2050. For developing countries the necessary increase will be even about 200% in order to prevent further food shortages along with their socio-economic consequences and even famine.
CHIC project: Chicory as a multipurpose crop for dietary fibre and medicinal terpenes
CHIC is an innovation project aimed at implementing New Plant Breeding Techniques in chicory, in order to establish it as a multipurpose crop for sustainable molecular farming of products with consumer benefits.
Chicory contains many healthy substances which can, for example, slow down the growth of fungi and bacteria. The crop is very difficult to breed using the current technologies, breeding and selection, and it is also hard to increase production of the healthy components.
New breeding techniques such as Crispr-Cas can be used to develop new chicory varieties, which contain more fibres and components suitable for medicinal applications.