greenhouse plants

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Vaccinations can be a controversial subject for many people, especially when it comes to injections. So what if you could replace your next shot with a salad instead? Researchers at the University of California-Riverside are working on a way to grow edible plants that carry the same medication as an mRNA vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the many inoculations which use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology to defeat viruses. They work by teaching cells from the immune system to recognize and attack a certain infectious disease. Unfortunately, mRNA vaccines have to stay in cold storage until use or they lose stability. The UC-Riverside team says if they’re successful, the public could eat plant-based mRNA vaccines — which could also survive at room temperature.

Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers are now looking accomplish three goals. First, the team will try to successfully deliver DNA containing mRNA vaccines into plant cells, where they can replicate. Next, the study authors want to show that plants can actually produce enough mRNA to replace a traditional injection. Finally, the team will need to determine the right dosage people will need to eat to properly replace vaccinations.

“Ideally, a single plant would produce enough mRNA to vaccinate a single person,” says Juan Pablo Giraldo, an associate professor in UCR’s Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, in a university release.

“We are testing this approach with spinach and lettuce and have long-term goals of people growing it in their own gardens,” Giraldo adds. “Farmers could also eventually grow entire fields of it.”

Plants are capable of growing more vaccines

Giraldo and a team of scientists from UC-San Diego and Carnegie Mellon University say the key to making edible vaccines are chloroplasts. These are small organs inside plant cells which help convert sunlight into energy.

“They’re tiny, solar-powered factories that produce sugar and other molecules which allow the plant to grow,” Giraldo explains. “They’re also an untapped source for making desirable molecules.”

Previous studies have shown that it’s possible for chloroplasts to express genes which are not a natural part of that plant. Giraldo’s team accomplished this by sending genetic material inside of a protective casing into plant cells.

In the new study, Giraldo teamed with UC-San Diego’s Professor Nicole Steinmetz to use nanotechnology to deliver more genetic material into chloroplasts.

“Our idea is to repurpose naturally occurring nanoparticles, namely plant viruses, for gene delivery to plants,” Steinmetz says. “Some engineering goes into this to make the nanoparticles go to the chloroplasts and also to render them non-infectious toward the plants.”

“One of the reasons I started working in nanotechnology was so I could apply it to plants and create new technology solutions. Not just for food, but for high-value products as well, like pharmaceuticals,” Giraldo adds.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. Irm says:

    WTF is wrong with you so called Scientists!!! Totally freaky

  2. Peggy says:

    This is wrong!! You are taking away our right to choose for ourselves. This is messing in Gods territory.

  3. David says:

    Has the American public weighed in on this kind of tampering with nature? I can’t imagine anyone actually falling for such a sinister study. This is all about money..

  4. Maxine Johnson says:

    Based on the “success” of vaccines so far, wherein children have been irreparably harmed, not to mention the CV vax, wherein about 17 million people have died, how do you find this to be a good idea??? Will you write an article about the rights of The People to be informed and to choose whether or not they want these “vaccinations”?
    What about people who are already harmed? What about small children? What about people who are already compromised? This is outrageous.

    1) The People have a right to INFORMED CONSENT, which there was none in the CV vaccine boxes. The insert page was blank in every one of them.
    2) Where is the Nuremberg Code? Post WW2, the Nuremberg Code was established world wide so that humans would never again be subject to over-reaching government tyranny like was in Nazi Germany and establishing the fact that human beings are NOT test-subjects for experimental drugs. “Voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.”

    3) Where is the PATIENT’S BILL OF RIGHTS? Again, established to protect the patients from being harmed and to be fully informed and have choice and right of refusal over treatments and drugs recommended in their care BEFORE care with said treatments and drugs begins.

    Shame on you, StudyFinds, if you don’t write a rebuttal and expose the violations stated above.