Precision BioSciences, Inc., and DuPont Pioneer today announced that The Plant Journal has published an article detailing collaborative cutting-edge research to generate male-sterile corn plants. Researchers at Pioneer used Precision’s advanced genome engineering technology, called DNE, to “knockout” or disable the function of the ms26 gene in corn. Knocking out this gene has enabled Pioneer to produce corn plants that are male-sterile, a powerful tool for hybrid seed production.
The article further details how the Precision and Pioneer research teams were able to optimize a DNE gene-editing tool to maximize its efficiency in corn. This optimization process, which involves modulating the DNA-cutting activity of a gene-editing enzyme, can only be performed with Precision’s proprietary DNE technology. The optimization step was found to be critical for high-efficiency gene-editing activity in corn.
“We are thrilled with the results published by The Plant Journal,” said Jeff Smith, Precision BioSciences’ Chief Science Officer and one of the study’s authors. “This is a clear demonstration of why DNE’s unique combination of high-targeting flexibility, site-specificity, and activity modulation is so critical for the production of high-value products.”
The collaboration to develop DNE technology for agricultural applications began in 2008 and has already delivered actionable results. The work described in this publication enables the creation of genetic male sterile plants similar to those used in the Pioneer proprietary Seed Production Technology (SPT) process. This work paves the way to extend SPT process to additional crops and genes. The SPT process is an innovative technology developed to increase the quality, productivity and efficiency of hybrid seed production. Pioneer has implemented the process in its hybrid seed corn production fields, and is working toward its deployment in other crops, such as rice.“Our collaboration with Precision Biosciences is a great example of two leading technology experts coming together to deliver new value to the agricultural industry,” said Michael Lassner, DuPont Pioneer Vice President of Trait Discovery and Technology. “This is the first of many applications we are exploring for the optimized DNE technology.”