1:15 min Read

A soft or crunchy corn tortilla, often filled with beans, rice, meats, cheese, and veggies. There are lots of reasons to love tacos–they are filling, easy to travel with, and most importantly, delicious.

Tacos are indeed Mexican, but they’ve been adapted around the world; with shells and toppings adjusted to suit the local culture and the meal of the day. That exact reason is why the dish persists.

However, in our rapidly changing world, so many of the things we love about a classic Tex-Mex taco are under direct threat whether from pests, drought, or disease.

Fortunately, gene editing can be a tool to help address these concerns.

The Taco Base

Researchers are using gene editing to explore drought-tolerant corn, which can withstand hot, dry periods and could help keep food supply and prices steady, despite a warming climate.

Corn tortilla

Using CRISPR, scientists were able to develop a variety of rice that produces 25 to 31% more grain than would have been possible through traditional growing methods.

Grains of rice

Gene editing solutions can also improve animal health and well-being, and make animal agriculture more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Slices of beef

Layers of toppings

Scientists are exploring using gene editing to create non-browning avocados, which could help reduce food waste, a major contributor to climate change.

Avocado

Researchers from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York have made small-size, high-yield tomato plants a reality. Using gene editing, they are breeding tomato plants that grow as a bush, rather than vines, making them easier to grow in small spaces.

Tomatoes

Finishings 

With help from innovative and evolving breeding methods, scientists are currently researching ways to improve cows’ overall well-being.

Shredded cheese

Thanks to recent agricultural innovations, scientists at University of California, Davis were able to create heat-tolerant lettuce that’s heartier and more capable of germinating at high temperatures. An important characteristic on a warming planet.

Leaves of lettuce
Tacos

 

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