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Agreement on gene-editing technology for biofuel advancement

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A new licensing agreement between three parties will allow CRISPR-Cas9 and similar gene-editing tools to be used to produce varieties of camelina for the advancement of biofuels.

Corteva Agriscience, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Sustainable Oils, a subsidiary of Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. are the three parties to the agreement. They said the technology will be used to further develop camelina for energy purposes.

“We are excited to add CRISPR-Cas9 technology to accelerate our camelina breeding practices,” said Jerry Feitelson, Chief Scientific Officer of Sustainable Oils, in a press release. “With this powerful innovation in plant breeding, we plan to further expand our intellectual property portfolio of advanced camelina varieties, which is already the largest in the world. Through state-of-the-art breeding methods, optimal agronomic advancements and large-scale logistics, we hope to bring the carbon intensity of our finished fuels to near or below zero.”

Camelina has been considered a biofuel feedstock that can also function as a cover crop, allowing growers to practice soil health practices while generating a harvestable crop.

Sustainable Oils said the deal allows it to target specific traits for crop improvement. The company said it hopes to increase oil yield, accelerate maturity and improve drought resistance. Overall, its goals include creating a more efficient culture with a lower breeding cost.

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