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Crop Biotech Update

Gene-edited Canola Shows Resistance to White Mold

February 3, 2021
Field trials showed successful use of gene editing to confer resistance to white mold in canola. 

White mold, also known as sclerotinia, is a fungal pathogen that can affect 14-30% of canola fields every year and can reduce yields by up to 50%. Thus, researchers at Cibus used their Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS) which involves gene editing without incorporating a foreign gene in the crop, thus retaining its non-GM status.

"Fundamentally, what we do is we make a spelling change in a gene and so by doing that we use the natural processes in cells of plants and then bring those cells back to a whole plant. We then take it to the greenhouse and it enters into a normal plant-breeding program," said Peter Beetham, President, and CEO at Cibus.

Combatting white mold has a couple of advantages, including the reduction of the carbon footprint. With fewer fungicide applications, less fuel is used by farmers. Resistance to the disease also ensures better yield and higher income for the farmers.

Read more from Cibus and the Western Producer.

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