Genetic Engineering News: Can CRISPR Feed the World?

Now in its second decade, CRISPR genome editing technology is being used to revolutionize agriculture—just in time to help us adapt to climate change.

A decade has passed since the landmark paper by Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier describing their Nobel Prize–winning research appeared in Science. The research, of course, was about the “genetic scissors” known as CRISPR. Over the past 10 years, improved versions of these scissors have been introduced by many researchers, and many gene-snipping applications have been explored. To date, the most prominent applications have been medical applications, such as therapies meant to treat patients with sickle-cell anemia.

But CRISPR is poised to make an even broader impact on the world. Far from being limited to modifying the genomes of human cells, CRISPR is quite capable of modifying the genomes of plant cells. Indeed, as Doudna explained in a recent interview on the Babbage podcast, the earliest practical CRISPR applications that will seize public attention will be in food and agriculture. She said, “The most widely impactful applications of CRISPR, for many of us, are going to be in the agricultural sector, at least in the near term.”

How is improving plant traits with CRISPR technology different from doing so with the conventional methods of genetic mutagenesis used in plant breeding?

Read the full article at Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.


Reuters: Australian Trial of Gene-Edited Wheat Aims for 10% Bigger Yields

The groundwork for a major trial of gene-edited wheat has begun in Australia, where a state company is growing hundreds of varieties it says could be up to 10% more…


BBC News: How Crops Are Being Disaster-Proofed

Gene editing has already developed in leaps and bounds. But one young seed-design company that wants to take the technology even further is Inari. Read the full article on


Bloomberg: Massachusetts Startup Inari Raises Equity at $1.65 Billion Value

Massachusetts agtech startup Inari Agriculture Inc. said it raised $103 million of new equity at a $1.65 billion valuation. Read the full article in Bloomberg.