DuPont Predicts CRISPR Plants on Dinner Plates in Five Years
Powerful and possibly unregulated, gene editing starts new boom in GMOs.
By Antonio Regalado on October 8, 2015
Agricultural biotech giants are starting to make moves into CRISPR gene editing, saying they’ll be selling seeds engineered with the technology by the end of this decade.
DuPont said today it entered an agreement with Caribou Sciences, a spin-off of the laboratory of Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley, who carried out key work on CRISPR-Cas9, a technology that provides something like a find-and-replace feature for DNA.
DuPont says it is already growing corn and wheat plants edited with CRISPR in greenhouses and that field trials will start next spring.
“We are talking about bringing products to market in five to 10 years,” says Neal Gutterson, vice president for agricultural biotechnology at Pioneer Hi-Bred, part of DuPont’s $11 billion per year crop chemicals and biotech seed business. “That is a pretty damn good time line compared to other technology.”
DuPont is testing CRISPR to make drought-resistant corn as well as wheat genetically altered so it will breed like a hybrid, rather than self-pollinate as it typically does. Hybrid plants are vigorous, and yields can jump by 10 or 15 percent.