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DuPont Pioneer Develops New Corn Using CRISPR Technology

Researchers at DuPont Pioneer have developed a new variety of corn though the precise editing of the corn’s own genome using a new technology called CRISPR-Cas.

"The next generation of waxy hybrids developed with CRISPR-Cas will represent a step-change in how efficiently we bring elite genetic platforms of high-yielding waxy corn to our customers," said Neal Gutterson, vice president research and development for DuPont Pioneer in a company statement.

The waxy corn hybrid developed through the advanced breeding technology is expected by the company to be made available to U.S. farmers within five years following field trials and regulatory reviews.

Although subject to review, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that it will not subject the new variety to the same regulatory rigors as traditional GMO strains as it “does not consider next-generation waxy corn developed with CRISPR-Cas enabled advanced breeding technology as regulated by USDA Biotechnology Regulatory Services.”

"DuPont Pioneer believes that CRISPR-Cas as an advanced plant breeding tool holds great promise for maintaining the world’s ability to produce an abundant and healthy food supply. The USDA’s confirmation is an important first step toward clarifying the U.S. regulatory landscape and the development of seed products with CRISPR-Cas technology," said Gutterson.

DuPont Pioneer is the world’s top supplier of waxy corn hybrids, with approximately half a million acres grown across the U.S. each year. Waxy varieties produce a high content of amylopectin starch which is milled for use in the production of foods, adhesives, and paper. The company is establishing a CRISPR-Cas advanced breeding platform for the development of products within all of its crops of interest that offer improved disease resistance and drought tolerance.

"This is just the beginning,” said Gutterson. “We believe the true value of this important innovation in plant breeding will be achieved through active engagement with customers, academia, governments, NGOs and public research institutes to develop new solutions to the toughest agricultural challenges.”

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