Simplot acquires access to CRISPR-Cas9 gene technology

One of the largest potato processors in North America has acquired access to new gene-editing technology.

J.R. Simplot company has secured a deal with Corteva Agriscience (the agriculture division of DowDuPont), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for the license of CRISPR-Cas9, along with other gene-editing tools.

Along with potatos, Simplot produces a full line of fresh, frozen and chilled products such as avocados, strawberries. The company hopes the use of CRISPR will help lessen the waste of their products as they deal with poor shelf life and poor storage conditions on a regular basis.

“We’re excited to add CRISPR-Cas9 technology to our platform of tools aimed at providing more sustainable produce for the industry,” says Susan Collinge PhD, vice president of Simplot Plant Sciences in a news release. “These pioneering tools may enable growers to achieve higher yields on less land resulting in fewer pesticides, water and labor needs while extending the quality of a consumer’s favorite foods.”

Simplot has also used different genetic techniques, commercializing two generations of its Innate-branded line of potato varieties by adapting genes from wild and cultivated potatoes. The potatoes featured reduced bruising and black spots, reduced natural asparagine, and protection from late blight pathogens.

“Our goal is to maximize the scientific impact of CRISPR-Cas9 for improving agriculture, and our joint licensing agreement offers the opportunity to provide much broader access to help researchers reduce food waste, limit pesticides, and improve drought resistance, while promoting safe and ethical uses of groundbreaking technologies,” says Issi Rozen, Chief Business Officer of the Broad Institute in the same news release.

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