NATURAL EFFICIENCY Plastomics is developing a novel trait delivery technology that places beneficial traits in the chloroplast of plant cells, rather than the nucleus. The chloroplast derives energy from the sun during the process of photosynthesis, enabling higher expression of Plastomics’ traits, increasing their beneficial properties. Plastomics creates crops that can better withstand the pressure of insects, diseases and weeds while delivering higher yields. Using Plastomics’ technology will give seed companies the benefits of simplified product development, more effective products and new market opportunities.
Product development is simplified with Plastomics’ trait delivery platform, which allows for precise trait insertion, easy trait stacking and significantly reduced complexity and time in the breeding cycle. With less time required for trait introgression, products are launched faster into the market.
Better products are created with Plastomics’ platform. Chloroplasts are abundant in all plant cells, so trait dose is higher than with traditional nuclear trait delivery. Higher trait dosing results in more effective products with longer product life cycles. New modes-of-action such as RNAi traits are effective when delivered via Plastomics’ platform. Maternal inheritance of chloroplast traits eliminates yield drag during the trait integration process, creating varieties with higher yield potential.
Trait flow via pollen doesn’t occur when using Plastomics’ trait delivery technology. Elimination of the regulatory and environmental concerns related to trait outcrossing creates new disruptive market opportunities to deliver biotech traits to crops such as sorghum, sunflower and rice.
The Sky is the Limit Trait delivery in the chloroplast is also well suited for modification of photosynthetic pathways to increase yield as well as metabolic pathway engineering to deliver crops with enhanced nutrition. Future product development will focus on these and other crop improvements.
Simplified Product Development
New Market Opportunities
What Drives Us to Innovate: Feeding a growing population is one of the great challenges of the 21st century. According to the FAO, food production must increase 50% globally and 200% in developing countries by 2030. We believe that Plastomics’ technology can make a significant contribution to reach that goal by improving the way that biotechnology is used to deliver higher-yielding seeds to the farmers who are feeding the planet.
The products created during the first phase of the biotech revolution have helped growers produce more food than ever before with significantly less environmental impact. However, the technologies used to create these products were developed more than 20 years ago and are now outdated, unable to support the complex trait needs of today’s farmers.
Plastomics’ trait delivery platform provides solutions for many current biotech seed industry challenges: multi-trait products with complex trait integration and breeding programs, increasing pest resistance development requiring higher trait dose and new modes of action, and the inability to expand the reach of biotech traits to crops with outcrossing concerns. Providing solutions to these challenges will give seed companies a valuable tool to help growers meet the nutritional needs of a growing population.
Why Chloroplasts: Biotech crops were first launched in the 1990’s and have revolutionized agriculture; however, insects and weeds are developing resistance to first generation biotech traits. The underlying trait delivery technology used to create biotech crops is outdated and unable to support the creation of the next generation of powerful crop traits. Crops of the future need dozens of traits to improve yields, protect against pests and diseases and provide improved nutrition to feed a growing population. Delivering traits in the chloroplast provides solutions to many of the problems with current trait delivery technology.
Simplified Breeding and Trait Introgression: During breeding, chloroplast traits are inherited in a different way than those in the nucleus. The nuclear traits are inherited by both pollen and seed. Chloroplast traits are inherited in the seed alone, reducing the breeding process to one cross versus the numerous crosses required for integration of nuclear traits. Breeding with chloroplast engineered traits saves time and money in product development and seed production, thus speeding up time to market.
More Powerful Traits: Expression of traits in the chloroplast results in a higher dose, making the trait more effective and helping to fend off development of resistance of insects or weeds. The high dosage attribute of Plastomics’ technology will benefit current products but will also enable the commercial deployment of new modes of action, such as RNAi. Plastomics has demonstrated effective trait dosing of RNAi to control lepidopteran pests.
Higher Yields: Nuclear trait delivery systems often come with yield drag, the bi-product of an inferior trait integration process. In corn, this yield loss is valued at $1.4 Billion annually. Plastomics’ traits are transferred directly to commercial seed genetics without negative genetic material, thus creating higher yielding seeds and more value to the farmer.
Easy Trait Stacking: Stacking multiple traits in the nucleus is a complex and expensive process. Plastomics’ gene delivery technology utilizes a precise and natural process in the chloroplast to easily stack traits, saving time and money. Stacking traits gives farmers more tools to address the challenges they are facing such as insect and weed resistance and the need for increased yields.
Trait Containment: Chloroplasts are maternally inherited, meaning that traits are sequestered in the seed and will never be transmitted by pollen. This eliminates the environmental and regulatory concerns of biotech traits in some crops, which will open up new market opportunities in crops like sorghum, rice and sunflower.
Who are we: Plastomics’ management team collectively has more than 100 years of leadership experience in the agricultural industry, including in multinational industry leading companies and start-ups. Our lab team is exceptionally skilled and innovative with deep experience in cell biology, plant tissue culture, transformation and molecular biology. Together, we are dedicated to developing and commercializing the next generation of revolutionary trait delivery technology.
David Duncan, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Staub, Ph.D.
Alice Hui, Ph.D.
Maria de Oliveira, Ph.D.
Venkata Mangu, Ph.D.
Eric Vincill, Ph.D.
Murug Mookkan, Ph.D.