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Agtech startup unites gene editing and GM traits

Getty/iStockphoto Person with tweezers taking chunk out of DNA molecule
Inari gains patents for gene edited corn and soybean seeds.

New technology is always emerging in agriculture. Now, a company is honing in on gene editing as a tool to advance seed technology.

The agtech startup company Inari is using gene editing in combination with genetically modified traits to deliver higher soybean and corn yield potential for farmers.

To create a genetically modified crop, scientists take a gene from a different organism and introduce it to the plant.

For gene editing, however, scientists can make a small, controlled tweak to the plant’s existing DNA without necessarily introducing a new gene.

Gene editing provides a cheaper and easier method of achieving better crops, and it is still much quicker than traditional breeding methods.

By combining gene editing and GM traits, Inari can make multiple changes to a single plant at one time.

Since the beginning of 2022, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company has been granted two U.S. patents related to gene editing GM traits:

  • Transgenic INIR6 corn plants with an insect protection trait
  • Transgenic INHT31 soybean plants with a trait delivering a weed management solution

In addition, Inari has 10 trait-specific patents pending, as well as five concept patent families pending which cover the editing of any GM trait in corn, soybeans, canola and cotton.

Inari uses a proprietary CRISPR-CasS system to edit plant genes. The company plans to commercialize its products for producers in the coming years.

Using the new technology, Inari aims to reduce water and nitrogen needs for corn by 40% and increase corn and soybean yields by 20%.

“It’s not only about feeding the world, but it’s about also better for the planet as well as better for the farmers,” says Inari Chief Executive Officer Ponsi Trivisvavet.

Inari was founded in 2016 and has locations in Massachusetts, Indiana and Belgium. Learn more about the company and the SEEDesign platform here.

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