Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
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Digging into a gene-editing deal

The tools of biotechnology have been used in crop development for more than three decades. And while transgenic crops may have gotten the public's attention in the beginning, plant breeders saw other benefits — including marker-assisted breeding. But the latest tool that will allow plant breeders to reach new crop production is gene editing, and Syngenta is incorporating that new tech into its development programs.
Recently, the company announced it has signed a nonexclusive intellectual property license with the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to use a key tool for gene editing – CRISPR-Cas9. But Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of global seeds research at Syngenta, says that the company has been using gene editing techniques since 2010.
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