Gene-edited strawberries promise longer shelf life

What’s the connection between potatoes and strawberries? J.R. Simplot sees an opportunity with its partnership with Plant Sciences Inc. which is located at the heart of strawberry-growing country:  Watsonville, California.


J.R. Simplot, known for its non-browning Innate potatoes, is now seeking to parlay its breeding technologies with gene-edited strawberries. Using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tools, the potato company is looking to improve shelf life and reduce waste in highly perishable strawberries. 


Note the speed of research and confidence with which these companies are moving forward. In 2018, only three years ago, Simplot entered an intellectual licensing agreement with Corteva Agriscience and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for access to CRISPR-Cas9 and related gene-editing tools. 


It’s expected that Plant Science will provide its proprietary strawberry germplasm, share growing knowledge and lead commercialization of best varieties.


“At Simplot, we’re excited to participate in a project that may help growers achieve higher yields on less land, resulting in fewer pesticides and reduced water and labour needs, all while extending the quality of a consumer’s favourite foods,” said Susan Collinge, vice-president of Simplot Plant Sciences.


“We are highly motivated to build on our learnings with the J.R. Simplot Company and fully expect to make an impact on the strawberry industry by offering better varieties with qualities that both growers and consumers will celebrate,” said Steve Nelson, president and CEO of Plant Sciences Inc.


Source: Business Wire October 28, 2021 news release

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