Dutch vegetable seed breeder Bejo has entered into a non-exclusive research and commercial license agreement with global agriculture company Corteva Agriscience and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a U.S.-based biomedical and genomic research centre.
Through the agreement, Bejo will access CRISPR-Cas9 intellectual property for genome editing for agricultural use, allowing research work and programs as well as potential future commercial applications. For the time being, however, following the development in legislation Bejo will use CRISPR-Cas9-technology for research purpose only.
Bert Schrijver, director, Research & Development of Bejo said, “Gene editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 bring opportunities for accelerating Bejo’s vegetable breeding programs. They increase our understanding of genetics and provide tools to develop new traits such as abiotic stress and disease resistance. This helps farmers to grow their crops in a more sustainable way and fulfill the increasing demand for healthy vegetable production in the world.”
Bejo now has access to a wide range of genome editing tools, which will enable it to strengthen its ability to develop more efficient vegetable varieties and contribute to meeting global food and sustainability challenges. They can now deploy this technology in a wide variety of vegetable seeds, including brassicas, onions, carrots and other crops.
Sam Eathington, chief technology officer, Corteva Agriscience, said: “CRISPR-Cas9 holds immense potential to make crops more nutritious, more resilient and more productive. We’re proud to enable Bejo to explore new applications of this powerful tool in vegetable crops.
“Bejo’s investment in gene editing reflects growing confidence that the European Union (EU) policy environment will continue to open, allowing farmers and consumers in the EU to benefit from this plant breeding innovation.
Corteva Agriscience is committed to Open Innovation, and to working with the scientific community to develop innovative solutions for growers.