If we simplify it, CRISPR is taking out the bad parts of a food’s DNA gene sequence and adding in or changing parts that help make it taste better or last longer.
Some of the applications could be boosting the health benefits of products, shelf life, off-season availability and transportability of fruits and vegetables.
Avocado is a simple example of a food that could benefit from CRISPR and gene editing techniques. Ripe avocados are the most tasty but also hard to ship around the world. With a specific genetic change it could be possible to both retain flavor benefits and the conventional longevity of this avocado on the shelf.
Another applications, such as more flavorful tomatoes that do not turn brown as they age or after they are cut — greatly extending shelf life and reducing waste — are close to being commercialized in the US. In 2018, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) made a big step, saying certain gene-edited plants can be designed, cultivated, and sold free from regulation.
: National Geographic has some cool illustrations
on what is CRISP, how it is different from GMOs, and the promise of gene editing.