Calyxt announced that it has successfully transformed the hemp genome, enabling a step-change in innovative approaches in the species. This transformation technology enables future advancements in hemp such as trait delivery, gene editing, and advanced plant breeding, and is expected to accelerate hemp variety development.
Hemp, a historically non-domesticated crop, is not yet adapted for broad-acre production agriculture. Out of reach by U.S. farmers and seed breeders for nearly 80 years, hemp has not benefited from modern breeding and genomics advances – until now.
Calyxt is enabling improvements in identified plant behaviors and traits, which will allow hemp breeders to select new varieties that will establish it as a modern, stable, and valuable broad-acre crop to be positioned at the forefront of agricultural opportunity.
“The hemp species as a whole has historically been a particularly difficult crop to transform,” says Travis Frey, CTO with Calyxt. “We overcame the technical hurdles presented by this crop in under a year thanks to our world-class team of experts skilled in applying innovative tissue culture and DNA delivery to achieve this milestone. This transformation opens the door to other advancements in hemp through gene editing.”
Calyxt’s first efforts are focused on standardizing the crop for broad-acre adoption, reduced risk hemp production, and modernizing the breeding process.
Calyxt anticipates its innovations will initially come to market as breeding platform tools or licensed traits and be commercialized by leading germplasm and hemp-based ingredient and material companies.
“This is our first delivery of innovation from our platform of hemp improvement tools that leverages decades of work and learning from other crop species,” says Sarah Reiter, vice president of business development with Calyxt. “This tool delivers capabilities to selectively breed and make improvements in hemp traits, including, but not limited to protein, fiber, advanced materials, and wellness.
Calyxt is leveraging its proprietary plant transformation technologies to accelerate hemp innovation and is exploring collaboration opportunities with partners looking to leverage our technology to add to their programs in hemp.”