GMO Cotton May Be Future Source Of Protein
Cotton may be a source of protein for humans in the future, as genetic modification has produced plants free of toxins.
Cotton is grown by more than 20 million farmers, and accounts for around 40% of the fiber used for making clothing, and its seeds are an excellent source of protein - for cows. The plant contains the toxic chemical gossypol, which only ruminants can digest. Genetic engineers have now managed to produce cotton plants with seeds that do not contain gossypol, and may as such be used for food.
Plant breeders managed to develop cotton plants without toxins in the 1950s, but the plants succumbed to infections because they could not protect themselves. The GMO cotton keeps its natural defense system.
Genetically modified cottonseeds will need government approval before they hit grocery shelves, and they're more likely to be used first to supplement fish or animal feed. But with the global population still on the rise and farmland limited, the planet can use free protein. And you might even like it. "It's not bad," says Rathore, who has popped a few seeds. "Tastes like chickpeas."