CRISPR’s role in mushroom safety: towards antidote discovery

Not yet the season of mushrooms 🍄, but an interesting read on how CRISPR can help preventing deaths from eating the wrong mushroom. 🍄 The Amanita phalloides/death cap/’groene knolamaniet’ is very toxic, and unfortunately looks a lot like the Parasol Mushroom and the younger version looks like the button mushroom. A mistake is easily made.

Researchers used CRISPR to do a screen on what gene could be important in the poisonous pathway. They created a pool of human cells, each with a mutation in a different gene. They then tested which mutations helped the cells to survive exposure to the toxin, called α-amanitin. The gene was found and the antidote could be screened for!