Can CRISPR save the banana and revolutionize coffee? Tropic Biosciences believes so.

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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. [On June 13th], the company announced that it raised $10 million to commercialize its varieties of both coffee and bananas.

Bananas are at risk from disease. The Cavendish banana, the variety now common in grocery stores after a fungus decimated a tastier variety, is now at risk from a new strain of the fungus that can quickly spread and kill plants.

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. Right now, producers typically remove caffeine through a process that involves soaking beans and steaming them.

At some point, it’s possible that companies that genetically engineer food might develop entirely new products–perhaps even a caffeinated banana, for example–but Tropic Biosciences plans to focus on “developing traits that really make sense to people, traits we can communicate easily,” [Gilad Gershon, CEO of Tropic Biosciences].

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