Israeli Biotech Partners with German Chem Giant to Develop Non-GMO Herbicide Resistance
Kaiima and BASF have partnered to develop crops with new herbicide resistance traits using non-GMO genetic engineering technology.
Kaiima Bio Agritech works on boosting crop performance by using the plant’s own DNA, without the need of introducing external genes. In order to leverage this technology, the company has partnered with the giant chemical company BASF to discover new herbicide resistance traits and develop new methods for weed control that could improve crop productivity.
Kaiima’s enhanced ploidy technology can increase the number of copies of the plant’s genome, therefore increasing the number of copies of each gene and allowing for more genetic diversity within the cultivated species. This process has been done since the beginnings of agriculture – modern bread wheat, with six genome copies, is the result of hybridizations between three species that had two genome copies each, which happened over 10,000 years ago.
By multiplying the DNA load, Kaiima can obtain certain types of genetic mutations that are challenging using traditional mutagenesis approaches, such as gene duplications and translocations. And since it uses the plant’s own DNA, the resulting breeds are not considered GMO and therefore more easily approved. BASF will provide its expertise on herbicides to help Kaiima test resistance and validate the discovery of new traits.
Images via oticki / Shutterstock; Kaiima Bio Agritech