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CRISPR holds key to food innovation

The CEO of St. Louis based crop science and food innovation company Benson Hill says researchers have just ‘scratched the surface’ of food improvement using CRISPR.

CRISPR is a method of breeding that uses specific nuclei that can be used to breed for better crops.

Matt Crisp tells Brownfield the ‘natural genetic diversity of plants’ is one of the biggest global untapped resources.

“There are phenotypes and nutrient profiles and micronutrients and flavor profiles that aren’t even available but that are within the natural genetic diversity of plants and that we can really tap into,” he said.

Crisp said crops that haven’t historically received attention for breeding innovation, like vegetables, will benefit the most from gene editing technologies like CRISPR.

“Imagine being able to supply breeders with a tool like CRISR and to more rapidly advance the natural genetic diversity of some crop that, you know, hasn’t gotten a lot of innovation but that might really, really deserve it,” he said.

Crisp said Benson Hill has spent the last few years developing data analytics platforms so the genetic potential of plants can be better understood.

Matt Crisp Interview

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