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Dr. Daniel Voytas, McKnight Presidential Endowed Professor, Director of the Center for Precision Plant Genomics at the University of Minnesota, and founder of Clayxt, discusses the cutting-edge in genome editing in plants.
As director of the Center for Precision Plant Genomics, he leads a team that continues this focus with gene editing, substitution, and mutation methods. The center strives to improve plants’ ability to withstand challenges like drought conditions and insect consumption. Rather than typical food crops, the center uses fast-growing plants fit for experimentation like tobacco.
His company, Calyxt, which he started ten years ago, is instead able to focus on common food crops. The company uses the technology developed at the center to perform genome editing in plants to improve crop health. For example, Calyxt targeted the soybean plant and disabled the gene that transforms the oil in the soybean seeds from monounsaturated fat to polyunsaturated. Calyxt released this soybean seed with monounsaturated fat as their first gene-edited manufactured item. Its altered state produces an oil that can be used in deep frying much longer for less waste.
For more information on how to contact Dr. Voytas, see https://cbs.umn.edu/contacts/daniel-voytas-phd.