Companies planning gene-edited strawberries to reduce waste

Companies planning gene-edited strawberries to reduce waste
© Associated Press/Pat Wellenbach

Two companies announced on Thursday they are planning on gene-editing strawberries to reduce waste.

J.R. Simplot Company and Plant Sciences Inc. (PSI) announced they are expecting to produce the first commercially available, gene-edited strawberries in the next few years. 

The goal for the gene-edited strawberries is to reduce waste by making the strawberries have a longer shelf life.

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“We are highly motivated to build on our learnings with the J.R. Simplot Company and fully expect to make a profound impact on the strawberry industry by offering better varieties with qualities that both growers and consumers will celebrate,” President and CEO of PSI Steve Nelson said.  

The companies will be using CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tools to modify the strawberries, which the companies say will also reduce water needs.

"At Simplot, we’re excited to participate in a project that may help growers achieve higher yields on less land, resulting in fewer pesticides and reduced water and labor needs, all while extending the quality of a consumer's favorite foods," Vice President of Simplot Plant Sciences Susan Collinge said.  

This is not the first time Simplot has brought genetically modified food to the market, with the company previously bringing genetically modified potatoes to the shelves.