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Ag Firm Acquires Gene-Editing Licensing Rights

The agricultural firm J.R. Simplot Company has licensed gene-editing rights, the Associated Press reports. Simplot is one of the largest potato processors in North America, according to the firm.

The company entered into an agreement with DowDuPont and the Broad Institute for CRISPR-Cas9 technology and related tools, the AP adds. It notes that the firm declined to reveal how much it paid for the licensing rights, but says the company acquired them through a "process intended to prevent the technology from being used unethically."

"The issues are about getting the right kind of food produced in the right kind of way," Neal Gutterson, chief technology officer at Corteva Agriscience, part of DowDuPont, tells the AP. "It's important to be able to produce enough food for the nine to 10 billion people who will be on the planet in 30 years."

Simplot already uses older genetic techniques, such as to prevent potato bruising and blight, the AP says.

"We're excited to add CRISPR-Cas9 technology to our platform of tools aimed at providing more sustainable produce for the industry," Susan Collinge VP of Simplot Plant Sciences adds in a statement.