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Revolutionising Agriculture: Next-Gen Seed Technology with CRISPR-Cas9

By David Armaah

Imagine a way to make crops better without waiting ages for them to naturally evolve. That’s where CRISPR-Cas9 comes in; a groundbreaking tool that has revolutionised genetic engineering and holds immense promise for the future of farming.

The Case: CRISPR-Cas9

CRISPR-Cas9, often dubbed the “genetic scissors,” is a molecular tool that allows precise modification of DNA sequences within an organism’s genome. This technology, inspired by the natural defence mechanisms of bacteria against viruses, has rapidly emerged as a game-changer in various fields, including medicine, biotechnology, and notably, agriculture.

At its core, CRISPR-Cas9 enables scientists to target specific genes within a plant’s DNA and either deactivate, modify, or insert new sequences with unparalleled precision. This level of accuracy creates numerous opportunities for improving crops, such as increasing their yield and nutritional value, as well as making them more resistant to pests, diseases, and environmental challenges.

Several companies have emerged as pioneers in harnessing the power of CRISPR-Cas9 for agricultural innovation;  

Inari Agriculture: is a company that uses new breeding technology to design seeds for a more sustainable global food system. They employ a unique approach called “Seed Foundry” to revolutionise plant breeding. By integrating data science, machine learning, and genome editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9, Inari aims to create crops with traits for specific growing conditions, ultimately increasing productivity and resilience while reducing environmental impact.

Location: USA, CEO: Ponsi Trivisvavet

Pairwise: They are a start-up food company in the field of agricultural biotechnology that focuses on improving the flavour, quality, and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables using CRISPR-Cas9. Utilising CRISPR and gene editing techniques, Pairwise develops gene-edited products efficiently, aiming to bring the first CRISPR-edited food products to the U.S. market. Pairwise’s mission is to build a healthier world by enhancing fruits and vegetables for the benefit of people and the planet.

Location: United Kingdom  CEO: Tom Adams

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