Cibus Global, a pioneering plant trait development firm, today announced that it has partnered with Naturally Enhanced United Seed (NEU Seed), a potato grower cooperative based in Idaho, to develop and market improved traits in potato using Cibus’ natural smart breeding tool, Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS). The collaboration will initially focus on enhancing crop protection tolerance and reducing blackspot bruising, with the aim of improving both productivity by reducing pesticide usage and the overall quality of potatoes available to the consumer.
Potato bruising is estimated to cost the U.S. potato industry nearly $300 million a year, and NEU Seed estimates that 60 percent of this is attributable to blackspot bruise. In addition to yielding significant economic advantages for farmers and consumers through reduced waste, NEU Seed and Cibus have focused on newly developed traits that are expected to reduce usage of pesticides and improve the sustainability of potato production. Eventually the partners intend to collaborate on the development of other important traits to create healthier potato plants with improved quality attributes that will benefit the consumer and potato industry.
RTDS is an environmentally safe, trait development procedure that will use the potato’s natural process of gene repair to effect a precise change in the genetic sequence. By mimicking natural methods in a highly targeted way, RTDS technology avoids the introduction of foreign genetic material into plants. RTDS has been recognized by the USDA as a mutagenesis technique, and therefore not subject to the regulations applied to transgenic (or GM) crops. Mutagenesis-derived crops and traits are produced around the globe in a number of food categories, including food grains (rice, oats and durum wheat), vegetable oil crops (sunflower, canola and flax), beer ingredients (barley, hops and yeast) and seedless fruits (grapes and citrus fruits).
Cibus President Dr. Keith Walker said, “RTDS technology is revolutionary in that it enables the development in plants of valuable traits that enhance overall efficiency and product quality through a natural process. Globally, potato is a very important food crop, and Cibus is proud to work with NEU Seed and the potato industry to enhance production and quality for the benefit of farmers, processers and consumers.”
“Cibus offers the potato industry a naturally accelerated breeding process that will lead to new and innovative technology solutions for the farmer,” said Dirk Parkinson, potato grower and President of NEU Seed, from Saint Anthony, Idaho. “The RTDS technology offers North American farmers the ability to develop valuable traits through a carefully targeted process that mimics what occurs in nature. This directed and efficient approach allows for lower production costs and significantly enhances the over-all quality of our product for our customers.”
For more information, contact PGI's office at (208) 785-1110, or Keith Esplin, PGI executive director, at (208) 243-1824.