Gene Tuning - Part Two
We reported yesterday on the next evolution of crop genetics: what Sound Agriculture CEO Adam Litle calls gene tuning.
Litle… “It's in the realm of what's called epigenetics. Epigenetics is probably the most cutting edge frontier of genetics. It's everything downstream of genetic code, where a lot of things happen that were just discovered in the last 10 to 20 years.”
When he says downstream from the genetic code, he means that we can control how certain genes are expressed without actually tampering with the genome itself. This opens the door for things like bringing back taste and flavor on food crops that have been bred for productivity and resiliency.
Litle… “In the modern food system, we breed for low cost and consistency in the supply chain and aesthetics. So what do we want typically in the grocery store or what does retail want? They want like a beautiful, consistently round red tomato that can withstand a three week supply chain. And still then last on your shelf for another week or something like that as a consumer. But often they taste kind of like water. Like they just don't taste that great. Part of it is because of what they've been bred for. And where the huge opportunity is is can we take the best of both worlds and you need targeted tuning to do that. You can also do it with CRISPR, but again, like we don't know where to target. And so it's going to take a lot longer to learn that way, because it's about learning and iteration.”
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