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Bayer Advances Genome-Editing Initiatives For Nutrition Enhanced Vegetables

by Tunae
Source: Bayer

Bayer announced this morning that as part of their strategic open innovation approach, the company has initiated two collaborations to advance genome editing in vegetables.

Bayer has partnered with South Korean biotech company G+FLAS to develop genome-edited tomato varieties enhanced with vitamin D3. This collaboration aims to address the widespread issue of vitamin D deficiency, which affects an estimated one billion people worldwide, particularly in regions with limited winter sunlight, according to a press release. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to various health problems.

“Bayer is committed to achieving ‘Health for All, Hunger for None’. As we work toward this mission, we are proud to address a widespread nutrition problem and to support a healthy diet through cutting-edge technology,” said JD Rossouw, Head of Vegetables Research & Development at Bayer during the World Seed Congress in Rotterdam. “The collaboration leverages G+FLAS’ genome editing technology and Bayer’s proprietary tomato germplasm.”

The agreement also aims to develop seeds for a wider range of tomato products using genome editing.

“Modern breeding technologies, such as genome editing, offer health benefits and resilience to a changing climate,” said Rossouw. “It is a crucial addition to a breeder’s toolbox, and we expect it to play a significant role in our pipeline going forward.”

Ruth Mathieson, Global Head of Strategic Marketing at Bayer Vegetable Seeds, said Bayer is deeply attuned to what consumers are seeking: Foods that are not only rich in nutrients but also delightful in taste.

“Our commitment is to deliver on these expectations, which, in turn, provides significant benefits throughout the value chain and enhances the competitiveness of our growers,” she stated. “We are keenly aware of the widespread issue of nutritional deficiencies in diets today. Actively working to bridge this nutritional gap is a driving force behind our growth and innovation strategy.”

Bayer Obtains License To Genome Edited Leafy Greens from Pairwise

Bayer has obtained a license from Pairwise to work with and commercialize its genome-edited mustard greens. These greens, a mix of colorful leafy varieties with a unique, fresh flavor and higher nutritional value compared to lettuce, were developed using genome editing. They are the first gene-edited food introduced to the North American market.

“This agreement and its focus on genome-edited produce made a substantial contribution to our open innovation approach,” said Rossouw. “We’re excited to partner with Pairwise on their innovative leafy greens, which deliver a new, great-tasting salad option with high nutrition value. The latest deal creates value beyond just selling a product, as it also comes with rights to use the knowledge, intellectual property, and technology going forward.”

The license includes commercialization rights for the varieties developed by Pairwise and rights to develop new varieties.

More information on this program can be found here.

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