396. New Innovations to Tap Nature’s Diversity for Tomorrow’s Food Products

Sunday, October 27
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Location: 201-ABC
CE: 1.5
Level 1- Basic
Activity Code: 149392

Every living creature carries the DNA that comprises its genome. Over time, nature has exploited that DNA to modify genes to favor survival in a particular environment, developing the diversity we have on our planet today. Scientists now have the tools to replicate this process, and to make it more precise. For human health, this process could lead to better health outcomes for people suffering from chronic illnesses like leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and fibrosis.
This process can also be applied to foods we eat, potentially benefiting millions of consumers–imagine peanuts without the allergen, or decaffeinated coffee without the chemical process. These products may become real using a method that changes their genome, so they no longer carry that particular gene. But what is involved? How is this done, and how will it impact us as dietitians?

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the process by which changes to food genomes can produce better food products.
  • Describe three examples of food products that may be produced by gene editing.
  • Detail the risks and benefits of changing a food product’s genome.

Learning Need Codes:

  • 2040 Food science, genetically modified food
  • 2020 Composition of foods, nutrient analysis
  • 2050 Genetics

Performance Indicator:

  • 7.2.6 Identifies and promotes sustainable, resilient, healthy food to staff, customers and public.
  • 8.1.2 Applies knowledge of food and nutrition as well as the biological, physical and social sciences in practice.
  • 8.3.6 Keeps abreast of current nutrition and dietetics knowledge and trends.


  • Ashley Vargas, PhD, MPH, RDN, FAND


    National Institutes of Health

  • Speaker(s)

  • Natalie DiNicola, PhD Environmental Toxicology

    Chief Communication Officer

    Benson Hill Biosystems

  • Greg Jaffe, JD

    Director Biotechnology Project

    Center for Science in the Public Interest