Innovating Traditional Plant Breeding
We are pioneering new plant breeding techniques with our proprietary and highly differentiated non-transgenic gene-editing technologies and expertise in genomics and cell culture. Our Rapid Trait Development System, or RTDS™, accelerates the processes underlying natural breeding and provides a versatile and low-cost means to increase crop yields for farmers, to improve nutrition for consumers and to reduce waste for a sustainable agricultural ecosystem. Our proprietary technologies and traits are protected by over 300 patents and patent applications across 16 patent families.
Most gene editing techniques make use of site-directed DNA-breaking nucleases that cut both strands of DNA at specific locations. The subsequent repair of these DNA breaks results in transgenic or non-transgenic plants. A non-transgenic approach has several advantages, including precision, faster trait development, potential to identify new gene functions, high specificity and ability to stack traits in novel ways. The combined speed, accuracy and lower cost of non-transgenic gene-editing enables the commercially viable development of seeds for a broader range of crops than transgenic modification.
Because our RTDS is completely non-transgenic in both process and product, it has the potential to bring rapid trait innovation to a broader set of crops and markets over time.
Our extensive genomics expertise enables us to determine what to edit based upon a deep understanding, at a molecular level, of which genes or edits to those genes contribute to specific characteristics of a plant. Our proprietary process begins by isolating single plant cells for editing. We harness the cell’s intrinsic DNA repair system to edit specific targeted bases within the genome using a gene repair oligonucleotide, or “GRON.” The GRON acts as a “DNA template,” guiding the cell’s innate repair machinery to make specific edits to the DNA’s targeted base pairs. In some cases, we use DNA-breaking reagents, such as CRISPR-Cas9, which act as “molecular scissors,” to make site-specific cuts in the DNA of the plant cell. Once the repair process is complete, the GRON is entirely degraded by the cell’s natural processes. At this point we have precisely edited a single plant cell.
This precisely genetically edited cell does not contain any foreign genetic material, establishing our technology as truly non-transgenic, both in process and product. Once the presence of the new trait is confirmed, we apply our proprietary, industry-leading cell culture expertise to regenerate and grow an entire plant with the desired traits introduced by our targeted edits. Our product is nature-identical, whereby it mirrors a desirable plant trait that could occur in plants through randomly occurring mutations in nature or through conventional plant breeding.
We believe RTDS will transform the global seed industry by introducing advanced trait development to a broader range of crops and geographies than has previously been targeted, enabling us to meet demands across the agricultural value chain—from farmers seeking weed control and disease tolerance options for greater crop yields, to processors looking to improve ease of handling and minimize waste, to retail consumers increasingly demanding foods that are healthier, more nutritious and non-allergenic.
We Are Transforming The Industry
“We are united in our commitment to innovation and employing our breakthrough precision gene-editing technologies to sustainably and efficiently develop beneficial trait solutions to transform food, agriculture and consumer health.” — Greg Gocal, PhD, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer