An AI-powered platform is being used with CRISPR technology to develop new plant varieties in months instead of decades
Spotted: Climate change is affecting the way that farmers grow crops, with changes to growing season length, more extreme weather, and an increasing need for more heat and drought-tolerant crops. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates up to 14 per cent of food globally is lost every year due to climate change, and this will only get worse in the next few years.
Phytoform is a biotech startup working to develop new climate-resilient crops that are better-adapted to these changing conditions. The approach involves the use of deep machine learning and genome editing technologies to identify new, advantageous traits. Then, those traits are implemented directly into crop varieties using CRISPR genome editing.
The company uses a proprietary machine learning technology called CRE.AI.TIVE to identify any small changes in DNA sequences that will have a maximum impact on crops. Using artificial intelligence (AI), Phytoform filters through millions of sequences and implements desired new traits using genome editing. The result is that new plant varieties can be develop in months, rather than years or decades, and at a fraction of the cost.
Phytoform is not the only company working to improve crop resilience through genetics. Springwise has spotted other innovations in this area, including a microbial seed dressing that increases drought resistance in crops and a system that improves yield and reduces the water needed for irrigation.
Written By: Lisa Magloff