The J.R. Simplot Company and Plant Sciences Inc., have announced a strategic partnership to bring the first commercially gene-edited strawberry to supermarkets. 

The alliance plans to leverage the gene editing techniques from Simplot and proprietary strawberry germplasm and growth expertise of PSI. 

Approximately 35% of fresh strawberries are discarded by consumers each year because of waste created from poor storage or short shelf life.

Simplot and PSI have been collaborating since 2011 and plan to employ new breeding techniques, like CRISPR-Cas9, which can be used to introduce modest changes to a plant’s genome. Simplot first entered a joint intellectual property licensing agreement in 2018 for CRISPR-Cas9 genetic technologies, later bringing to market the Innate branded potato varieties, which through genetic engineering reduced black spots, lowered sugars, and helped protect varieties from late blight pathogens.

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PSI has been a leader in the strawberry industry by helping adapt select strawberry cultivars to various growing regions throughout the world. The company use traditional crossing techniques and works to bring improvements in production, resistance to pests and disease, and a desirable growing season.

“We are highly motivated to build on our learnings with the J.R. Simplot Company and fully expect to make a profound 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 PSI. 

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