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DuPont Pioneer Licenses Genome-Editing Tech from Vilnius University

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Ag-bio firm DuPont Pioneer announced today that it has acquired an exclusive license to guided Cas9 genome-editing technology from Vilnius University for all commercial uses, including agricultural ones.

Under the deal, DuPont Pioneer and the university will also collaborate on the technology's development. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

The technology involves the use of the Cas9 protein, which is used in CRISPR gene editing to cleave double-stranded DNA, to manipulate specific sections of an organism's genome. In plants, the company said, this approach may be used to promote drought tolerance and disease resistance.

"Guided Cas9 is one of the most exciting recent breakthroughs in biology, and, through our collaboration with Vilnius University, we're positioning DuPont to be an early adopter of this promising new technology in agriculture," Neal Gutterson, vice president of agricultural biotechnology for DuPont Pioneer, said in a statement. "The superior properties of guided Cas9 assist our scientists to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for growers similar to those realized through marker-assisted plant breeding, but with even greater precision and accelerated development timelines."