‘Less water, fertilizer, pesticides and land’? How next-generation soy and corn seeds optimized with CRISPR and AI can increase crop yields while lowering our carbon footprint

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Ponsi Trivisvavet, CEO and director of Inari. Credit: Inari
Ponsi Trivisvavet, CEO and director of Inari. Credit: Inari

Inari wants to engineer crops that require less water, fertilizer, pesticides and land. The company is focusing on soybeans and corn as its first crops because they require 300 million acres of land in North and South America to grow. Inari’s SEEDesign platform can increase soybean and corn yield by 20% while lowering water usage by 40% and reducing corn’s nitrogen needs by 40%.

Genetically modifying crops can involve removing or knocking out unwanted genes for a specific purpose, such as reducing the need for pesticides. Genetic modification can also artificially insert genes into a plant. Usually, bacteria are used to deliver the new genes.

The introduction of foreign genes into plants is one of the main controversies. However, Inari is not introducing outside genes into its crops. Instead, the company is altering genes that already exist in the plants through gene editing.

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Its SEEDesign platform uses predictive design and artificial intelligence (AI) to understand the genetics of plants and makes blueprints for its gene-editing tools that can make multiple edits in a single genome. The edits can make crop seeds with higher yields and lower agricultural footprints.

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