Genome Editing

Tools like CRISPR and TALENs make specific changes to the DNA of plants, animals, and microorganisms without using foreign DNA.

Lux logo LUX TAKE:

Genome editing is the future of agriculture, food ingredients, and medical therapeutics, but CRISPR-cas9 is not the be-all, end-all genome editing approach. Look for alternative cas proteins and non-CRISPR-based tools to circumvent the growing patent thicket and emergent resistance issues.

What's New

Lux Research analysts and the Lux Intelligence Engine have added the following recent genome editing developments.

New Lux Content

Technology for detecting crop pests and diseases: The majority, the minority, the developing, and the vacant : Early disease and pest detection is a powerful tool for agriculture commodity producers. Plant pests and disease are responsible for between 20% and 40% of crop losses annually. Therefore, before agriculture commodities reach consumers, 1/3 of that product has been lost in an ongoing arms race between crop producers, diseases, and pests. While preemptive pesticidal measures are well-established in the agrichemical industry, these chemicals often affect a broad range of organisms, risk impacting pollinators or other beneficial organisms, and develop resistant populations of targeted pests. Early detection combined with targeted control is a sought-after solution, but effective, time-sensitive, and insightful detection is complicated and difficult to achieve. We identify and categorize the emerging developers in the early detection space and define areas where developer solutions reside. Additionally, we identify several innovation-replete spaces.Early detection solutions can be segregated by the scale at which data is collected (molecular, plant, and field scales) and the parameters (biotic reactions, physical symptoms, disease/pest areas) used to identify pests. By mapping companies in Lux Research's database to the parameter space, we see that development is not uniformly structured.Figure 1: Mapping of pest and disease detection developers along scale of detection and data parameter axes. Informational highlights have been provided for vacant areas.The MajorityOf the 30 companies, 18 provide analysis and insight at the field scale. The "majority" is split into two groups: those that estimate pest risk and those that identify pest symptoms. Companies estimating pest risk utilize predictive modeling to estimate disease or pest risk based upon indirect data (weather conditions or pest counts). Companies that identify pest symptoms utilize hyperspectral, multispectral, or RGB imaging technology (satellite, drone, or aerial) to identify regions displaying symptoms of disease or pest activity. Both approaches have shown success; we note SemiosBio and Gamaya as examples.  The MinoritySeven companies provide symptom detection at the plant scale. The symptom detection technologies at the plant scale are diverse and include lidar, machine vision, fluorometry, multispectral cameras, and RGB cameras. Plant-scale observations require increased sensitivity (in the case of aircraft or satellite systems) or more intimate monitoring strategies.The DevelopingMethods for estimating disease and pest risk based upon the presence or absence of DNA are beginning to reach the development phase. Arbor Biotechnologies and Mammoth Biosciences are both working to develop CRISPR-based detection of microorganisms. The companies are focused on human health, but each has indicated an interest in agriculture and sustainability. SnapDNA and Fluid-Screen are developing detection systems that utilize microfluidics to sample and analyze microbes, while Diagenetix develops a mobile DNA amplification platform for in-field pathogen detection. Antibody-based detection methods also are prevalent throughout the industry.The VacantRoughly half of the mapped space is devoid of developers. The most notable void on the map is represented by biotic reactions at different scales. Plants, animals, and microbes often communicate chemically, and the detection of stress-related chemicals or chemicals specific to a target organism provides real-time pest control insight. Pheromones are certainly the lowest-hanging fruit in development, but "sniffing" the volatile organic molecules released from the soil and by plants may hold promise in the future. Alternatively, Raman spectroscopy offers the potential for in vivo biochemical analysis for plant phenotyping or the detection of commercially relevant compounds like antioxidants or pigments.Field-scale monitoring systems utilizing plant symptom detection are the dominant technology for early detection of diseases and pests, and this is not likely to change in the near term. Most systems provide not only data regarding pest- and disease-affected areas but also a broad range of other crop health parameters. However, the insight provided to the consumer is only as good as the models used for prediction and the amount of data used to train the model. Models may be more broadly applied for homogenous landscape row crops; however, high-value crops with more complicated canopy and plant spacing will require highly trained models for reliable insight. Data will be king. Companies integrating multiple data streams and those utilizing the data collected by clients to continuously improve their models will win out.

So Fresh and So Clean: An Updated Look Into Technologies for a Clean Label Strategy: CPGs are being pushed by consumers more and more to offer “clean label” food and beverage products. Albeit clean label has no formal definition, it speaks to the consumer desire for products with simplified ingredients that provide a perception of healthfulness and wellness. To help teach CPGs and ingredient companies how to capitalize on the clean label movement, we take a data-driven approach using Lux Tech Signal tools to assess innovation in clean label enabling technologies within three areas: 1) ingredients, 2) processing, and 3) packaging.

About Lux Research

Lux Research is a leading provider of tech-enabled research and advisory solutions, helping clients drive growth through technology innovation. A pioneer in the research industry, Lux uniquely combines technical expertise and business insights with a proprietary intelligence platform, using advanced analytics and data science to surface true leading indicators. With quality data derived from primary research, fact-based analysis, and opinions that challenge traditional thinking, Lux clients are empowered to make more informed decisions today to ensure future success.

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