New research: Scientists attempt to turn edible plants into vaccines

What is the News?

Scientists and Researchers at the University of California are studying whether they can turn edible plants like lettuce into mRNA vaccine factories.

What is the purpose of the project? 

The project aims to demonstrate whether they can convert plants like spinach and lettuce into mRNA vaccine factories.

What is the key element in this project?

The key to making this project work are chloroplasts. These are small organs in plant cells that convert sunlight into energy the plant can use.

They’re tiny, solar-powered factories that produce sugar and other molecules which allow the plant to grow. Hence, they are an untapped source for making desirable molecules.

What is the significance of this project?

Messenger RNA or mRNA technology works by teaching our cells to recognize and protect us against infectious diseases. 

One of the challenges with the mRNA technology is that it must be kept cold to maintain stability during transport and storage.

Hence, if this new project is successful, plant-based mRNA vaccines — which can be eaten — could overcome this challenge with the ability to be stored at room temperature.

Source: This post is based on the article New research: Scientists attempt to turn edible plants into vaccinespublished in Indian Express on 18th September 2021.

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