Could indoor ‘freight farms’ provide ideal growing conditions for CRISPR-edited crops?

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Credit: Freight Farms

The technology and innovation moving within modern day agriculture is so fast-paced and expansive, you can find futuristic solutions, ideas, and research sprouting in some pretty unlikely places. Among the most unsuspecting would be full-scale commercial farming and research happening inside what looks like a shipping container.

Enter Freight Farms, a company founded in 2010 and known for their hydroponic vertical container farms used to grow a variety of fresh crops virtually anywhere in the world. Recently, Freight Farms partnered with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to explore the integration of CRISPR tomato seed genetics in a climate-controlled vertical farm setting. The trials were conducted by Dr. Zach Lippman, who is engineering a wider variety of tomato crops capable of being grown successfully and commercially in the Freight Farms-style vertical systems.

Related article:  European 'Green Deal' stripped of proposal to develop 'innovative strategies,' including gene editing

Using the container’s environmental controls, the research was able to fully capitalize on the unique characteristics of the gene-edited tomato seeds by creating optimal growing conditions …. The end result was a new crop structure of small, compactly bunched tomatoes ready for harvest in less than 40 days. [I]t …. directs most of the plant’s energy into making and ripening fruit instead of inefficient growth spent on vine structure.


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