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Genus, Tropic to collaborate on gene editing

DNA configurations on computer monitor_Ryan McVay_Photodisc_Thinkstock-AA024526.jpg Ryan McCay/Photodisc/Thinkstock
Collaboration to explore application of Tropic's technology in porcine and bovine genetics to tackle animal disease and welfare.

Genus PLC, a world leader in animal genetic improvement, and Tropic Biosciences, a pioneering agricultural biotechnology company, announced Sept. 30 a collaboration to explore the application of Tropic’s Gene Editing induced Gene Silencing (GEiGS) technology in porcine and bovine genetics.

Genus said the collaboration with Tropic "is a welcome addition" to its internal discovery initiatives and strategic collaborations.

The new collaboration will enable Genus and Tropic to employ the GEiGS platform in Genus’s investigational research programs, ultimately aimed at accelerating genetic improvement for farmers and tackling animal disease and suffering, the announcement said.

Through the collaboration, the two companies will work together to design, investigate and develop new products for a number of applications over the coming years, Genus said, noting that Tropic’s research team will continue to provide support and regular input in a collaborative effort that highlights the strengths and values of both companies.

Genus's animal genetics technology is applicable across livestock species and is currently commercialized by Genus in the dairy, beef and pork food production sectors. It has sales comprised of semen, embryos and breeding animals in more than 75 countries under the ABS (dairy and beef cattle) and PIC (swine) trademarks.

With headquarters in Basingstoke, U.K., Genus companies operate in more than 25 countries on six continents, with research laboratories located in Madison, Wis.

Tropic Biosciences is a U.K.-based biotechnology company focused on utilizing advanced plant breeding and gene editing technologies to develop high-performing commercial tropical crops, namely coffee and bananas.

Its GEiGS technology utilizes established genome editing tools to make precise and specific changes to only a few nucleotides within non-coding endogenous genomic locations of a host organism. These changes redirect the RNA interference (also gene silencing) activity of non-coding genes towards target genes, including those belonging to pathogens and pests. The approach does not depend on the introduction of foreign genes into the host genome.

Tropic developed GEiGS to support its own product development, but recognizing wider potential beyond tropical crops, it has been working towards making the proprietary technology commercially available to other companies.

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