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Brazil: Genome editing capabilities to modernize crop improvement

Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company dedicated to unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, and Embrapa, one of the largest plant biodiversity and crop science research institutions in the world, announced a partnership to leverage cutting edge genome editing capabilities to accelerate crop R&D.

Embrapa is a research, development and innovation corporation under the Brazilian Government committed to the advancement of a healthy food supply and conservation of natural biodiversity. Embrapa’s 2,500 researchers apply scientific knowledge and techniques to improve the productivity, nutrition and sustainability of more than 20 crop species. Through this collaboration, Embrapa will leverage Benson Hill’s novel portfolio of genome editing nucleases and training from Benson Hill scientists to further modernize its R&D capabilities.

“Genome editing is a breakthrough advancement to improve the traditional process of plant breeding with greater speed and precision than previously possible,” said Alexandre Nepomuceno, Embrapa's Researcher (PI). “Benson Hill’s technical expertise and portfolio of CRISPR 2.0 and 3.0 genome editing nucleases will equip our scientists with the most advanced technologies in plant genetics to enhance our existing program and accelerate crop improvement.”

Benson Hill’s CRISPR 2.0 and CRISPR 3.0 nucleases are part of the suite of genome editing capabilities Benson Hill provides to partners to leverage the natural genetic diversity of plants and accelerate crop performance improvements. Benson Hill’s novel and distinct portfolio of genome editing enzymes demonstrate a shorter length, enabling broad application and easier delivery.

“Brazil represents 20% of the natural diversity on the planet. Embrapa has developed the largest seed gene bank in Brazil and one of the largest gene banks in the world,” said Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill Biosystems. “Our team is eager to engage with Embrapa scientists and help to further leverage and preserve the power of plant genetic diversity to improve crop production.”

Celso Moretti, Director of Research and Development at Embrapa, emphasizes that the partnership will add knowledge and generate results faster in research programs. “The partnership will allow important progress in crop varieties with characteristics adapted to the main demands of Brazilian agriculture, both in adapting to climate change but also in resistance to diseases and greater production of energy by the agricultural sector,” he points out.

For more information:
Benson Hill

Publication date: 3/1/2018



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