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Agricultural biotech giants are starting to make moves into CRISPR gene editing, saying they’ll be selling seeds engineered with the technology by the end of this decade.
DuPont says it is already growing corn and wheat plants edited with CRISPR in greenhouses and that field trials will start next spring.
“We are talking about bringing products to market in five to 10 years,” says Neal Gutterson, vice president for agricultural biotechnology at Pioneer Hi-Bred, part of DuPont’s $11-billion-per-year crop chemicals and biotech seed business.
A growing list of plant types have already been genetically engineered with CRISPR-Cas9 in academic laboratories, including soybeans, rice, and potatoes. Last month, a Japanese team used gene editing to turn off fruit-ripening genes in tomato plants.
Currently, most GMOs are transgenic plants that have been engineered by adding bacterial genes to the plants so that they poison insects or survive weed sprays.
Companies hope gene-edited crops could be largely exempted from regulation. Already, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has told several companies that it will not regulate these plants because they don’t contain genes from other species.
Gene editing could lead to some surprising creations in agriculture. For instance, peanuts have a number of proteins responsible for allergies. Getting rid of them is challenging, but allergy-free peanuts might be possible with the new technology.
Read full, original post: DuPont Predicts CRISPR Plants on Dinner Plates in Five Years