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Naturally decaffeinated CRISPR coffee and disease-resistant bananas? Tropic Biosciences takes big step towards commercializing both

| | June 14, 2018

In a lab at a U.K. research park, researchers from a startup called Tropic Biosciences are using CRISPR to create a better banana. The startup, which is also using gene editing to improve coffee, believes that technology could help save the fruit. Today, the company announced that it raised $10 million to commercialize its varieties of both coffee and bananas.

“Because traditional breeding is not an option, gene editing makes a lot of sense, because the only way you can change the banana now is through genetics. If we don’t [take] this type of role and save the banana, I’m not sure there’s any other way to do it.” If bananas are more disease resistant, the industry can reduce its use of agrochemicals; right now, [Gilad Gershon, CEO of Tropic Biosciences] says, the industry spends roughly a quarter of production costs on fungicide.

The team is also working on editing bananas to help the very perishable fruit survive longer as it’s delivered to consumers.

For coffee, the startup has already successfully genetically edited a variety of bean that is naturally decaffeinated.

With the new round of funding, the company, which was founded in 2016, will begin testing its new varieties globally.

Read full, original post: This startup wants to save the banana by editing its genes

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