Multinational agribusiness Monsanto has invested $125 million in agricultural start-up Pairwise to leverage gene editing technology into fresh produce crops such as strawberries.
According to Business Insider, the two companies will use CRISPR gene editing techniques to develop fruit crops – most likely to be strawberries – within the next five to 10 years, with the benefits expected to be sweeter fruit with a longer shelf life. The website also reported that former Monsanto’s vice president of global biotechnology Tom Adams will become the new CEO of Pairwise.
“Gene editing allows you to address problems that you can’t address with genetic modification and do so faster,” Adams said, adding, “what’s exciting is that it can get into crops that have a smaller footprint than maybe corn and have more opportunities to get into the hands of consumers.”
Haven Baker, the founder and CEO of Pairwise plants, told Business Insider, “We are absolutely targeting things that you’ll be able to see in the produce aisle. And ideally it’ll be benefits you recognize as an average consumer shopping and looking for produce. We want to make specialty crops cheaper more accessible and more affordable.”
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