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Smaller Firms Get into Gene Editing

There are a number of smaller agricultural firms staking out claims to in the gene-editing sector, Reuters reports.

It notes that larger firms like Monsanto, Syngenta, and DowDuPont have dominated the use of earlier genetic modifications approaches, but are now facing greater competition from startups. That, Reuters notes, is due to decisions in the US to not regulate gene-edited crops. The US Department of Agriculture announced in March that it did not plan to regulate genome-edited plants or animals. This makes developing them less expensive, Reuters adds.

Companies like Calyxt, Cibus, and Benson Hill Biosystems are developing gene-editing technologies and crops, Reuters says. And it says to expect partnerships and deals between these smaller companies or academic centers and larger firms.

"The lack of USDA-regulated status is a huge game-changer," Vancouver Island University's Robert Wager tells Reuters, "for universities and small startups to enter the market."

However, the Food and Drug Administration has said it would regulate gene-edited plants and animals with an "innovative and nimble" approach the agency is developing, Reuters adds.

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