CRISPR gene editing offers hope for struggling French seed maker Vilmorin

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U.S. sanctions against Iran and a slide in Turkey’s currency are contributing to an uncertain short-term outlook for seed maker Vilmorin as it seeks to recover from a disappointing past year, the French company said.

Vilmorin, one of the world’s largest suppliers of seeds for grain and vegetable crops, saw its shares tumble as much as 13.5 percent in Paris on Thursday after reporting weaker-than-expected profits for its financial year to June 30.

The firm, which has been hit by high inventory levels among vegetable seed distributors and a decline in maize (corn) planting in North and South America, said it remained confident of long-term growth prospects for agricultural seed.

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It also announced an agreement with the Broad Institute in the United States to have access to CRISPR-Cpf1 technology, which is among so-called gene-editing methods being explored to accelerate development of sturdier crops.

Like other seed firms, Vilmorin sees gene-editing as a valuable tool and Jacquemond criticized an EU court ruling this year that such technology should fall under regulations for genetically modified crops, which remain controversial in Europe.

Read full, original article: Iran, Turkey cloud outlook for seed maker Vilmorin

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