Vitamin D deficiency is a “global health problem”, according to Dr Jie Lie of the Quadram Institute. It is reported that 2 out of 3 Brits suffer from the health problem, with at least 1 billion suffering globally. The Quadram Institute, at the Norwich Research Park, are running multiple research schemes with the ultimate goal of tackling this problem altogether, as it can lead to other diseases developing, cancer and even mental health issues. The method is called gene editing, and it involves the adaptation of already existing genetics within certain foods, to increase their nutritional value, and help tackle this health problem.
Dr Lie of the Quadram institute, who specialises in the editing of tomatoes, insisted that the research at the Quadram Institute is much more morally correct than the gene modification mapped out in the year 2000. It is also expected that the edited tomatoes will be available on our shelves within the decade, with Dr Lie emphasised that the research is about “providing options” rather than “forcing change on people.”
Wheat is a key area of study for Dr Brittany Hazard. In a similar way to Dr Lie, Dr Hazard is hoping to “Make a huge impact on people’s lives” and believes gene editing holds the key to preventing diseases such as: vitamin d deficiency, type 2 diabetes and hypoglycaemia. Despite the research only being in the “early stages” Dr Hazard feels that gene editing presents the public with a “very exciting opportunity” and hopes the edited wheat will be involved in supermarket products within the next 5-10 years.
Head of External Relations and Engagement, Andrew Stronach assured reporters that gaining the public’s trust in the research, and the distribution of food “falls on the shoulders of industry and supermarkets.” Reiterating that the scientists at the Quadram Institute are responsible for the research and development side, whilst supermarkets are the ones who have to pitch the products.