Market's Latest


Agriculture Technology .

Published December, 2019
Gene Editing- Solution for Food shortage

Gene Editing which involves changing the genomes of living organisms, allows scientists to make small and precise changes to the genome of plants, for health and/or economic benefits. In plants, gene editing is performed on cultured plant cells, which are then regenerated into whole plants. The technology is used to develop superior strains of livestock and crops which produce better yields and resistance to difficult conditions. The ability to plant genetic modified crops to fight with pests and drought reduces hunger, while increasing availability of food and better economy.

CRISPR/Cas9, zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), rAAV, Transposons are few tools that have been developed to enable gene editing. Gene editing using ZFNs and TALENs has been around for two decades.  The development of CRISPR/Cas systems which provide simplicity and ease of targeted gene editing, has brought more focus on ZFNs and TALENs. The risks involved in altering genomes through the use of genome-editing technology are significantly lower than those associated with GM crops because most edits alter only a few nucleotides, producing changes that are not unlike those found throughout naturally occurring populations.

Genome-editing technology already shows great potential in agriculture, but it is still limited by the low efficiency of HR, off-target effects, restrictive protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) sequences, and other issues. Fortunately, novel innovations are continually being added to the genome-editing toolkit to address these limitations.

The various benefits of gene editing in Agriculture are:

Increased profitability: Gene-edited seeds are estimated to increase the global agriculture production up to $400 million tons and reduce crop wastage up to $20 million tons by 2030. This is expected to increase the farmer’s income by $100 billion.  

Diversified production: Gene editing techniques which allows faster gene modifications at lower cost is enabling genome changes across a diversified set of crops. This will in turn increase the number of crops that can adopt into their rotations.

Reduced need for inputs: Gene editing enables the production of plants varieties that require fewer or no agriculture inputs.  

Improved Animal Welfare: Gene editing also allows altering the animals for disease resistance thereby leading to less or no use of antibiotics and other additives. This will help the farmers in gaining consumer acceptance towards industrialized animal farming practices.   

The various examples of Gene Editing in agriculture are:

  1. Yield10 Bioscience, aims to produce better seed, biomass and oil yield of crops such as canola and soybeans using the CRISPR-Cas9 Based Genome Editing System. The company is in the process of developing several novel yield, oil content, and drought tolerant traits to create positive impacts in plants including Camelina, canola, soybean, rice, and other agriculturally significant crops. Company researchers are currently working to develop a variety of the yellow-flowered oilseed Camelina sativa, in which three genes, whose identities are proprietary, have been inactivated.
  2. Pairwise, a food tech company, and Plant Sciences, Inc. (PSI), a leading berry breeder and agricultural research company are collaborating to offer new types of black and red raspberries, as well as blackberries. Pairwise will use its unique gene editing capabilities and critically important germplasm of PSI, to improve taste, increase shelf-life and off-season availability of berries. This collaboration is built on a unique public/private partnership Pairwise and PSI previously established with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several leading academic institutions to identify diverse, novel types of berries that are not broadly bred for commercial sale today.
  3. Researchers at the Universities of Florida and Connecticut are utilizing CRISPR gene editing to breed citrus greening-resistant oranges.
  4. Syngenta, a major agricultural company is using pollen from one genetically modified plant to carry CRISPR’s components into another plant’s cells. The company aims to speed the creation of better and more versatile crops. Syngenta initially took advantage of a corn line that can be transformed with CRISPR with relative ease using the bacteria or gene gun technology, and that has a crippled version of a gene, MATRILINEAL, making its pollen able to trigger haploid induction. The researchers transformed this corn line with a gRNA/Cas9 combinations programmed to target genes related to different desirable traits. The pollen of these transformed plants could then spread the gRNA and Cas9 editing machinery to other corn varieties that had been recalcitrant to CRISPR.
  5. DuPont Pioneer is developing its first product with CRISPR technology: a new and improved waxy corn variety. Waxy corn has been around since the early twentieth century. While normal corn kernels contain 75% amylopectin and 25% amylose, a deletion in the waxy gene results in waxy corn kernels that contain over 97% amylopectin, essentially eliminating amylose from the kernel.