Phytoform, a London- and Boston-based startup, has received a €5M investment to develop gene-edited crops with the help of artificial intelligence tools. The firm expects to bring its first product, a weather-resistant tomato, to market in early 2022. The seed financing will fuel the development of Phytoform’s precision crop breeding platform, which specializes in using artificial intelligence to guide CRISPR gene editing.
Producing a new crop via traditional breeding techniques is costly and can take years to achieve. Gene-editing tools like CRISPR/Cas9 can greatly speed up the process, but it’s often challenging to know where and how to edit the plant genome in order to get the desired result. With the help of AI, Phytoform’s technology can develop new gene-edited crop strains within months.
“Phytoform’s platform is based on AI-driven understanding of plant gene expression. It can annotate, predict, and evolve non-coding DNA to control expression of genes in novel ways,” said Phytoform’s co-founder and CTO, Nicolas Kral. The goal, according to Kral, is to make the minimum amount of changes to a plant’s genome while still achieving the desired characteristics.
Read the complete article at www.labiotech.eu.