Crop Genetics: the 15 companies working on genetically edited crops that could transform farming and food

Crop Genetics: the 15 companies working on genetically edited crops that could transform farming and food

By
Louise Burfitt
November 16, 2021

🧬  What is it? 

  • When you hear ‘genetically edited food’ you probably think of Bayer or Monsanto or so-called ‘Frankenfood’, angry protestors and ongoing controversy.
  • But genetic modification has grown up and birthed a novel, more precise technology that could hold the keys to a more sustainable and efficient food production system. 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • That technology is gene editing. Specifically, CRISPR (and even more specifically, CRISPR-Cas9). 
  • Discovered in 2010 and since awarded the Nobel Prize, CRISPR technology is best described as like a pair of ‘genetic scissors’, allowing scientists to precisely edit parts of the genome by removing, altering or adding certain sequences. 
  • While genetic engineering of food and plants has been around in some form for thousands of years (even in the crudest form of farmers selecting hardier crops as opposed to weaker ones), never before have such sophisticated tools become available. 
  • And what’s the difference between GM (genetically modified) crops and gene editing? It’s pretty simple: GM crops normally merge the DNA of two different plant species, while gene editing is much more accurate and specific, enabling scientists to alter the DNA of a single species on its own. A tomato plant, say, could be developed to withstand cold temperatures; or a potato that doesn’t go green when exposed to light. So what’s driving the trend?

🤷 Why?

  • Feeding the world’s growing population sustainably is a key driver of this trend. In the future gene editing may make crops more resilient to the changing climate conditions and able to produce higher yields for a hungry world. 
  • Then there’s the fact that conventional farming practices are not just inefficient, but also unsustainable. And expensive, as fertiliser prices have skyrocketed. So new ways to produce food en masse are most welcome.
  • Food waste is also a motivator behind gene editing crops: next-gen crops could result in produce that’s less fragile so can be more easily transported and with a longer shelf life or or has less wastage - think, thinner broccoli stems to reduce household waste.

📈 The figures

  • The crop biotechnology market is valued at $28.2 billion and projected to reach $44.3 billion by 2031.

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • In an attempt to solve some of the issues with traditional agriculture, several startups are starting at the very beginning: with the seeds themselves. US startup Inari has raised over $200m to advance its mission of gene editing seeds to make farming more sustainable. Seeds that produce plants that need less water and fertiliser, and are more disease-resistant, are top of their agenda. Big-name Syngenta and startup BetterSeeds are also working on similar innovations.
  • Making produce more appealing to consumers through gene editing is also gaining traction. Syngenta have developed a lettuce that fits perfectly on a hamburger, both attracting consumers and reducing waste in the process. 
  • Others are focusing primarily on fighting food waste with genetically edited crops - like broccoli with a thin stem that can be eaten instead of chucked away, and cauliflowers that don’t go yellow, so are more appealing to consumers. With food waste one of the top issues contributing to climate change, this seems like a wise avenue for gene editing companies to target. Scientists in the US have even managed to create a non-browning mushroom
  • The effects of climate change are at the forefront of consumers’ and farmers’ minds, with many countries already experiencing extreme heatwaves and droughts, or unseasonable floods and frosts. Gene editing could - and is - being used to explore whether plants could be made more resilient to these kinds of weather fluctuations. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, for example, have discovered genetic data in rice and tomatoes that can help these crops survive droughts for longer periods of time. 
  • Until very recently, no gene-editing crops were available for general sale - but as of September this year, that’s no longer the case. A tomato in Japan became the first CRISPR-edited food to go on sale to the public. Its DNA has been altered to increase levels of the amino acid GABA, which increases relaxation. 

👀 Who? (15 companies in this space)

💸 Investors (30+ in this space)

Pairwise

 🌱 Case study: BetterSeeds 

  • Israeli startup BetterSeeds - formerly CanBreed - makes genetically-modified seeds using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. 
  • By selectively editing the genetic makeup of crops, they can alter the traits of plants to increase yields, improve the nutritional content of the end products and make plants better able to cope with heat and drought.
  • They describe themselves as ‘adapting today’s crops for the challenges of tomorrow’ - indicating their climate-driven agenda and mission. 
  • The company was founded in 2017 and raised $2m in seed funding in 2020. 
  • The startup is also busy developing novel tech that will make CRISPR technology more widely available as a generic method that can be applied to a broad variety of crops.

👯 Case study: Pairwise

  • Pairwise, based in North Carolina, have a noble goal: lettuces that don’t wilt, thornless blackberries without seeds that stick in your teeth, apples that don’t go brown when cut. Cherries without pits. 
  • The US startup hopes to be the first commercially-available gene-edited crops available for sale to the general public - and they’re aiming to achieve that by next year. 
  • Earlier this year, the startup raised $90m in Series B funding, following on from a $25m Series A round in 2018. 
  • The company uses CRISPR gene editing technology to edit the DNA of crops, like most other startups in the field. 
  • The founders have cited a lack of innovation in the fresh produce segment, and a desire to get more Americans eating nutritious fruit and vegetables, as one of their main drivers. 
  • Next up? Plans to create a leafy green that has the crunch of romaine, but the excellent nutritional qualities of a darker brassica, like kale. 
Pairwise

👍 The good

  • Startups working in the produce space say that there’s few innovating on the fruit and veggies side of things compared to, say, snacks or other less healthy consumer packaged goods - and innovations in this area could get more people eating healthier foods.
  • As opposed to GM, which is all about combining plant species, gene editing’s pros lie in its ability to work within the plant’s own species family - so there’s no need to introduce external DNA into the final product. This makes it more precise and potentially more palatable to consumers. 
  • New developments in the shelf life and storage capacities of perishable fruit and vegetables, as well as other edible products like dairy, could become a vital tool in the fight against food waste, too. 

👎 The bad

  • CRISPR gene editing technology is still relatively new, having only been developed in the 2010s. So costs remain high and the technology is not yet widely accessible, available or even legal in many countries, including Germany and Scotland.
  • Consumer hesitancy is also a big issue. Given the bad rap GM food has endured in recent decades, many still perceive anything genetically edited as suspicious - despite the clear differences between GM and gene editing. But clear messaging and education can change minds, so time will tell in this case. 
  • Then there are the regulatory hurdles - different in every country and often costly and time-consuming to overcome. However, as gene editing becomes more commonplace, perhaps the more doubtful nations will soften their views - especially if climate change starts to bite. 

💡 The bottom line

  • If skeptical consumers and initial startup costs can be dealt with, then gene edited crops could be the future of agriculture.
  • Not any time soon, mind you - but the startups showcased in this article are paving the way to a gene-edited future that could transform food production as we know it.
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🧬  What is it? 

  • When you hear ‘genetically edited food’ you probably think of Bayer or Monsanto or so-called ‘Frankenfood’, angry protestors and ongoing controversy.
  • But genetic modification has grown up and birthed a novel, more precise technology that could hold the keys to a more sustainable and efficient food production system. 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • That technology is gene editing. Specifically, CRISPR (and even more specifically, CRISPR-Cas9). 
  • Discovered in 2010 and since awarded the Nobel Prize, CRISPR technology is best described as like a pair of ‘genetic scissors’, allowing scientists to precisely edit parts of the genome by removing, altering or adding certain sequences. 
  • While genetic engineering of food and plants has been around in some form for thousands of years (even in the crudest form of farmers selecting hardier crops as opposed to weaker ones), never before have such sophisticated tools become available. 
  • And what’s the difference between GM (genetically modified) crops and gene editing? It’s pretty simple: GM crops normally merge the DNA of two different plant species, while gene editing is much more accurate and specific, enabling scientists to alter the DNA of a single species on its own. A tomato plant, say, could be developed to withstand cold temperatures; or a potato that doesn’t go green when exposed to light. So what’s driving the trend?

🤷 Why?

  • Feeding the world’s growing population sustainably is a key driver of this trend. In the future gene editing may make crops more resilient to the changing climate conditions and able to produce higher yields for a hungry world. 
  • Then there’s the fact that conventional farming practices are not just inefficient, but also unsustainable. And expensive, as fertiliser prices have skyrocketed. So new ways to produce food en masse are most welcome.
  • Food waste is also a motivator behind gene editing crops: next-gen crops could result in produce that’s less fragile so can be more easily transported and with a longer shelf life or or has less wastage - think, thinner broccoli stems to reduce household waste.

📈 The figures

  • The crop biotechnology market is valued at $28.2 billion and projected to reach $44.3 billion by 2031.

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • In an attempt to solve some of the issues with traditional agriculture, several startups are starting at the very beginning: with the seeds themselves. US startup Inari has raised over $200m to advance its mission of gene editing seeds to make farming more sustainable. Seeds that produce plants that need less water and fertiliser, and are more disease-resistant, are top of their agenda. Big-name Syngenta and startup BetterSeeds are also working on similar innovations.
  • Making produce more appealing to consumers through gene editing is also gaining traction. Syngenta have developed a lettuce that fits perfectly on a hamburger, both attracting consumers and reducing waste in the process. 
  • Others are focusing primarily on fighting food waste with genetically edited crops - like broccoli with a thin stem that can be eaten instead of chucked away, and cauliflowers that don’t go yellow, so are more appealing to consumers. With food waste one of the top issues contributing to climate change, this seems like a wise avenue for gene editing companies to target. Scientists in the US have even managed to create a non-browning mushroom
  • The effects of climate change are at the forefront of consumers’ and farmers’ minds, with many countries already experiencing extreme heatwaves and droughts, or unseasonable floods and frosts. Gene editing could - and is - being used to explore whether plants could be made more resilient to these kinds of weather fluctuations. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, for example, have discovered genetic data in rice and tomatoes that can help these crops survive droughts for longer periods of time. 
  • Until very recently, no gene-editing crops were available for general sale - but as of September this year, that’s no longer the case. A tomato in Japan became the first CRISPR-edited food to go on sale to the public. Its DNA has been altered to increase levels of the amino acid GABA, which increases relaxation. 

👀 Who? (15 companies in this space)

💸 Investors (30+ in this space)

Pairwise

 🌱 Case study: BetterSeeds 

  • Israeli startup BetterSeeds - formerly CanBreed - makes genetically-modified seeds using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. 
  • By selectively editing the genetic makeup of crops, they can alter the traits of plants to increase yields, improve the nutritional content of the end products and make plants better able to cope with heat and drought.
  • They describe themselves as ‘adapting today’s crops for the challenges of tomorrow’ - indicating their climate-driven agenda and mission. 
  • The company was founded in 2017 and raised $2m in seed funding in 2020. 
  • The startup is also busy developing novel tech that will make CRISPR technology more widely available as a generic method that can be applied to a broad variety of crops.

👯 Case study: Pairwise

  • Pairwise, based in North Carolina, have a noble goal: lettuces that don’t wilt, thornless blackberries without seeds that stick in your teeth, apples that don’t go brown when cut. Cherries without pits. 
  • The US startup hopes to be the first commercially-available gene-edited crops available for sale to the general public - and they’re aiming to achieve that by next year. 
  • Earlier this year, the startup raised $90m in Series B funding, following on from a $25m Series A round in 2018. 
  • The company uses CRISPR gene editing technology to edit the DNA of crops, like most other startups in the field. 
  • The founders have cited a lack of innovation in the fresh produce segment, and a desire to get more Americans eating nutritious fruit and vegetables, as one of their main drivers. 
  • Next up? Plans to create a leafy green that has the crunch of romaine, but the excellent nutritional qualities of a darker brassica, like kale. 
Pairwise

👍 The good

  • Startups working in the produce space say that there’s few innovating on the fruit and veggies side of things compared to, say, snacks or other less healthy consumer packaged goods - and innovations in this area could get more people eating healthier foods.
  • As opposed to GM, which is all about combining plant species, gene editing’s pros lie in its ability to work within the plant’s own species family - so there’s no need to introduce external DNA into the final product. This makes it more precise and potentially more palatable to consumers. 
  • New developments in the shelf life and storage capacities of perishable fruit and vegetables, as well as other edible products like dairy, could become a vital tool in the fight against food waste, too. 

👎 The bad

  • CRISPR gene editing technology is still relatively new, having only been developed in the 2010s. So costs remain high and the technology is not yet widely accessible, available or even legal in many countries, including Germany and Scotland.
  • Consumer hesitancy is also a big issue. Given the bad rap GM food has endured in recent decades, many still perceive anything genetically edited as suspicious - despite the clear differences between GM and gene editing. But clear messaging and education can change minds, so time will tell in this case. 
  • Then there are the regulatory hurdles - different in every country and often costly and time-consuming to overcome. However, as gene editing becomes more commonplace, perhaps the more doubtful nations will soften their views - especially if climate change starts to bite. 

💡 The bottom line

  • If skeptical consumers and initial startup costs can be dealt with, then gene edited crops could be the future of agriculture.
  • Not any time soon, mind you - but the startups showcased in this article are paving the way to a gene-edited future that could transform food production as we know it.

🧬  What is it? 

  • When you hear ‘genetically edited food’ you probably think of Bayer or Monsanto or so-called ‘Frankenfood’, angry protestors and ongoing controversy.
  • But genetic modification has grown up and birthed a novel, more precise technology that could hold the keys to a more sustainable and efficient food production system. 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • That technology is gene editing. Specifically, CRISPR (and even more specifically, CRISPR-Cas9). 
  • Discovered in 2010 and since awarded the Nobel Prize, CRISPR technology is best described as like a pair of ‘genetic scissors’, allowing scientists to precisely edit parts of the genome by removing, altering or adding certain sequences. 
  • While genetic engineering of food and plants has been around in some form for thousands of years (even in the crudest form of farmers selecting hardier crops as opposed to weaker ones), never before have such sophisticated tools become available. 
  • And what’s the difference between GM (genetically modified) crops and gene editing? It’s pretty simple: GM crops normally merge the DNA of two different plant species, while gene editing is much more accurate and specific, enabling scientists to alter the DNA of a single species on its own. A tomato plant, say, could be developed to withstand cold temperatures; or a potato that doesn’t go green when exposed to light. So what’s driving the trend?

🤷 Why?

  • Feeding the world’s growing population sustainably is a key driver of this trend. In the future gene editing may make crops more resilient to the changing climate conditions and able to produce higher yields for a hungry world. 
  • Then there’s the fact that conventional farming practices are not just inefficient, but also unsustainable. And expensive, as fertiliser prices have skyrocketed. So new ways to produce food en masse are most welcome.
  • Food waste is also a motivator behind gene editing crops: next-gen crops could result in produce that’s less fragile so can be more easily transported and with a longer shelf life or or has less wastage - think, thinner broccoli stems to reduce household waste.

📈 The figures

  • The crop biotechnology market is valued at $28.2 billion and projected to reach $44.3 billion by 2031.

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • In an attempt to solve some of the issues with traditional agriculture, several startups are starting at the very beginning: with the seeds themselves. US startup Inari has raised over $200m to advance its mission of gene editing seeds to make farming more sustainable. Seeds that produce plants that need less water and fertiliser, and are more disease-resistant, are top of their agenda. Big-name Syngenta and startup BetterSeeds are also working on similar innovations.
  • Making produce more appealing to consumers through gene editing is also gaining traction. Syngenta have developed a lettuce that fits perfectly on a hamburger, both attracting consumers and reducing waste in the process. 
  • Others are focusing primarily on fighting food waste with genetically edited crops - like broccoli with a thin stem that can be eaten instead of chucked away, and cauliflowers that don’t go yellow, so are more appealing to consumers. With food waste one of the top issues contributing to climate change, this seems like a wise avenue for gene editing companies to target. Scientists in the US have even managed to create a non-browning mushroom
  • The effects of climate change are at the forefront of consumers’ and farmers’ minds, with many countries already experiencing extreme heatwaves and droughts, or unseasonable floods and frosts. Gene editing could - and is - being used to explore whether plants could be made more resilient to these kinds of weather fluctuations. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, for example, have discovered genetic data in rice and tomatoes that can help these crops survive droughts for longer periods of time. 
  • Until very recently, no gene-editing crops were available for general sale - but as of September this year, that’s no longer the case. A tomato in Japan became the first CRISPR-edited food to go on sale to the public. Its DNA has been altered to increase levels of the amino acid GABA, which increases relaxation. 

👀 Who? (15 companies in this space)

💸 Investors (30+ in this space)

Pairwise

 🌱 Case study: BetterSeeds 

  • Israeli startup BetterSeeds - formerly CanBreed - makes genetically-modified seeds using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. 
  • By selectively editing the genetic makeup of crops, they can alter the traits of plants to increase yields, improve the nutritional content of the end products and make plants better able to cope with heat and drought.
  • They describe themselves as ‘adapting today’s crops for the challenges of tomorrow’ - indicating their climate-driven agenda and mission. 
  • The company was founded in 2017 and raised $2m in seed funding in 2020. 
  • The startup is also busy developing novel tech that will make CRISPR technology more widely available as a generic method that can be applied to a broad variety of crops.

👯 Case study: Pairwise

  • Pairwise, based in North Carolina, have a noble goal: lettuces that don’t wilt, thornless blackberries without seeds that stick in your teeth, apples that don’t go brown when cut. Cherries without pits. 
  • The US startup hopes to be the first commercially-available gene-edited crops available for sale to the general public - and they’re aiming to achieve that by next year. 
  • Earlier this year, the startup raised $90m in Series B funding, following on from a $25m Series A round in 2018. 
  • The company uses CRISPR gene editing technology to edit the DNA of crops, like most other startups in the field. 
  • The founders have cited a lack of innovation in the fresh produce segment, and a desire to get more Americans eating nutritious fruit and vegetables, as one of their main drivers. 
  • Next up? Plans to create a leafy green that has the crunch of romaine, but the excellent nutritional qualities of a darker brassica, like kale. 
Pairwise

👍 The good

  • Startups working in the produce space say that there’s few innovating on the fruit and veggies side of things compared to, say, snacks or other less healthy consumer packaged goods - and innovations in this area could get more people eating healthier foods.
  • As opposed to GM, which is all about combining plant species, gene editing’s pros lie in its ability to work within the plant’s own species family - so there’s no need to introduce external DNA into the final product. This makes it more precise and potentially more palatable to consumers. 
  • New developments in the shelf life and storage capacities of perishable fruit and vegetables, as well as other edible products like dairy, could become a vital tool in the fight against food waste, too. 

👎 The bad

  • CRISPR gene editing technology is still relatively new, having only been developed in the 2010s. So costs remain high and the technology is not yet widely accessible, available or even legal in many countries, including Germany and Scotland.
  • Consumer hesitancy is also a big issue. Given the bad rap GM food has endured in recent decades, many still perceive anything genetically edited as suspicious - despite the clear differences between GM and gene editing. But clear messaging and education can change minds, so time will tell in this case. 
  • Then there are the regulatory hurdles - different in every country and often costly and time-consuming to overcome. However, as gene editing becomes more commonplace, perhaps the more doubtful nations will soften their views - especially if climate change starts to bite. 

💡 The bottom line

  • If skeptical consumers and initial startup costs can be dealt with, then gene edited crops could be the future of agriculture.
  • Not any time soon, mind you - but the startups showcased in this article are paving the way to a gene-edited future that could transform food production as we know it.

🧬  What is it? 

  • When you hear ‘genetically edited food’ you probably think of Bayer or Monsanto or so-called ‘Frankenfood’, angry protestors and ongoing controversy.
  • But genetic modification has grown up and birthed a novel, more precise technology that could hold the keys to a more sustainable and efficient food production system. 

🤔 Tell me more…

  • That technology is gene editing. Specifically, CRISPR (and even more specifically, CRISPR-Cas9). 
  • Discovered in 2010 and since awarded the Nobel Prize, CRISPR technology is best described as like a pair of ‘genetic scissors’, allowing scientists to precisely edit parts of the genome by removing, altering or adding certain sequences. 
  • While genetic engineering of food and plants has been around in some form for thousands of years (even in the crudest form of farmers selecting hardier crops as opposed to weaker ones), never before have such sophisticated tools become available. 
  • And what’s the difference between GM (genetically modified) crops and gene editing? It’s pretty simple: GM crops normally merge the DNA of two different plant species, while gene editing is much more accurate and specific, enabling scientists to alter the DNA of a single species on its own. A tomato plant, say, could be developed to withstand cold temperatures; or a potato that doesn’t go green when exposed to light. So what’s driving the trend?

🤷 Why?

  • Feeding the world’s growing population sustainably is a key driver of this trend. In the future gene editing may make crops more resilient to the changing climate conditions and able to produce higher yields for a hungry world. 
  • Then there’s the fact that conventional farming practices are not just inefficient, but also unsustainable. And expensive, as fertiliser prices have skyrocketed. So new ways to produce food en masse are most welcome.
  • Food waste is also a motivator behind gene editing crops: next-gen crops could result in produce that’s less fragile so can be more easily transported and with a longer shelf life or or has less wastage - think, thinner broccoli stems to reduce household waste.

📈 The figures

  • The crop biotechnology market is valued at $28.2 billion and projected to reach $44.3 billion by 2031.

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • In an attempt to solve some of the issues with traditional agriculture, several startups are starting at the very beginning: with the seeds themselves. US startup Inari has raised over $200m to advance its mission of gene editing seeds to make farming more sustainable. Seeds that produce plants that need less water and fertiliser, and are more disease-resistant, are top of their agenda. Big-name Syngenta and startup BetterSeeds are also working on similar innovations.
  • Making produce more appealing to consumers through gene editing is also gaining traction. Syngenta have developed a lettuce that fits perfectly on a hamburger, both attracting consumers and reducing waste in the process. 
  • Others are focusing primarily on fighting food waste with genetically edited crops - like broccoli with a thin stem that can be eaten instead of chucked away, and cauliflowers that don’t go yellow, so are more appealing to consumers. With food waste one of the top issues contributing to climate change, this seems like a wise avenue for gene editing companies to target. Scientists in the US have even managed to create a non-browning mushroom
  • The effects of climate change are at the forefront of consumers’ and farmers’ minds, with many countries already experiencing extreme heatwaves and droughts, or unseasonable floods and frosts. Gene editing could - and is - being used to explore whether plants could be made more resilient to these kinds of weather fluctuations. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, for example, have discovered genetic data in rice and tomatoes that can help these crops survive droughts for longer periods of time. 
  • Until very recently, no gene-editing crops were available for general sale - but as of September this year, that’s no longer the case. A tomato in Japan became the first CRISPR-edited food to go on sale to the public. Its DNA has been altered to increase levels of the amino acid GABA, which increases relaxation. 

👀 Who? (15 companies in this space)

💸 Investors (30+ in this space)

Pairwise

 🌱 Case study: BetterSeeds 

  • Israeli startup BetterSeeds - formerly CanBreed - makes genetically-modified seeds using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. 
  • By selectively editing the genetic makeup of crops, they can alter the traits of plants to increase yields, improve the nutritional content of the end products and make plants better able to cope with heat and drought.
  • They describe themselves as ‘adapting today’s crops for the challenges of tomorrow’ - indicating their climate-driven agenda and mission. 
  • The company was founded in 2017 and raised $2m in seed funding in 2020. 
  • The startup is also busy developing novel tech that will make CRISPR technology more widely available as a generic method that can be applied to a broad variety of crops.

👯 Case study: Pairwise

  • Pairwise, based in North Carolina, have a noble goal: lettuces that don’t wilt, thornless blackberries without seeds that stick in your teeth, apples that don’t go brown when cut. Cherries without pits. 
  • The US startup hopes to be the first commercially-available gene-edited crops available for sale to the general public - and they’re aiming to achieve that by next year. 
  • Earlier this year, the startup raised $90m in Series B funding, following on from a $25m Series A round in 2018. 
  • The company uses CRISPR gene editing technology to edit the DNA of crops, like most other startups in the field. 
  • The founders have cited a lack of innovation in the fresh produce segment, and a desire to get more Americans eating nutritious fruit and vegetables, as one of their main drivers. 
  • Next up? Plans to create a leafy green that has the crunch of romaine, but the excellent nutritional qualities of a darker brassica, like kale. 
Pairwise

👍 The good

  • Startups working in the produce space say that there’s few innovating on the fruit and veggies side of things compared to, say, snacks or other less healthy consumer packaged goods - and innovations in this area could get more people eating healthier foods.
  • As opposed to GM, which is all about combining plant species, gene editing’s pros lie in its ability to work within the plant’s own species family - so there’s no need to introduce external DNA into the final product. This makes it more precise and potentially more palatable to consumers. 
  • New developments in the shelf life and storage capacities of perishable fruit and vegetables, as well as other edible products like dairy, could become a vital tool in the fight against food waste, too. 

👎 The bad

  • CRISPR gene editing technology is still relatively new, having only been developed in the 2010s. So costs remain high and the technology is not yet widely accessible, available or even legal in many countries, including Germany and Scotland.
  • Consumer hesitancy is also a big issue. Given the bad rap GM food has endured in recent decades, many still perceive anything genetically edited as suspicious - despite the clear differences between GM and gene editing. But clear messaging and education can change minds, so time will tell in this case. 
  • Then there are the regulatory hurdles - different in every country and often costly and time-consuming to overcome. However, as gene editing becomes more commonplace, perhaps the more doubtful nations will soften their views - especially if climate change starts to bite. 

💡 The bottom line

  • If skeptical consumers and initial startup costs can be dealt with, then gene edited crops could be the future of agriculture.
  • Not any time soon, mind you - but the startups showcased in this article are paving the way to a gene-edited future that could transform food production as we know it.
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