If you’ve ever tried tapioca, you might be surprised that the cassava roots it comes from naturally produce the precursor of cyanide. Consuming cyanide can lead to nervous system damage that ranges from cognitive problems to konzo, a disease that causes paralysis of the legs. With proper processing, cyanide can be removed from cassava and the starch from its roots can be safely consumed. But for some of the populations that use cassava as a staple crop, proper processing is not always an option.
Jess Lyons and Michael Gomez, IGI researchers using CRISPR to eliminate cyanide, sat down with Meenakshi Prabhune, host of CRISPR Cuts, to discuss their work using genome editing to reduce cyanide levels in cassava.
“We know that when we knockout both of the genes we’re targeting that code for this one enzyme at the beginning of the pathway, that we don’t detect cyanide in the tissue — in the leaves or the roots.”
How are Lyons and Gomez using CRISPR to eliminate cyanide in cassava and what are some of the challenges they face? Listen to find out!
Click to hear the full, 26-minute episode below, or read the blog post here.
IGI Researchers Are Using CRISPR to Reduce Cyanide in Cassava
CRISPR Cuts | Synthego | April 28, 2021