Seedless blackberries with a year-round growing season? Gene editing opens up new doors for radical improvements in the long-stagnant berry market

John Clark:

Genetic variation plus environmental effects are what make us, and the berries we grow, what we are. The interaction of these two factors continues to be exciting and challenging in berry breeding and production.

One of the biggest challenges with existing genetic variation occurs when a trait is desired but there is no known source for it. This means traditional breeding cannot make progress with the desired trait. Gene editing, often using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) technology, offers a new way to create genetic variation by precisely changing the DNA of an organism without introducing unrelated DNA such as occurs in transformation or GMO technology.

Pairwise, an innovative company based in Durham, NC, has undertaken the improvement of caneberries, specifically blackberries, using gene-editing techniques.