Corteva Agriscience and Ginkgo Bioworks to use synthetic biology to improve crop protection

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Corteva Agriscience LLC and Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc have entered into a multi-year agreement to apply the power of synthetic biology to design innovative crop protection technologies.
The collaboration combines Corteva’s knowledge of natural product discovery and agricultural expertise with Ginkgo’s extensive cell engineering platform and DNA codebase to explore the next generation of naturally inspired sustainable solutions to combat invasive pests, capable of meeting resistance challenges.
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 20-40% of global crop production is lost to pests annually. Consequently, plant diseases and invasive insects/weeds cost the global economy billions of dollars. Novel natural products and their inspired analogs have tremendous potential to provide sustainable options for farmers to protect crop yield, according to both companies. By working with Ginkgo, Corteva hopes to accelerate the discovery and optimisation of complex natural products through synthetic biology.
“Sustainable food and agriculture systems are critical to the growing population,” said Sam Eathington, senior VP and CTO, Corteva Agriscience (previously the agriculture division of DowDuPont). “As leaders in natural product development, we are committed to solving the challenges facing farmers sustainably through innovation. We are excited to collaborate with Ginkgo Bioworks to discover, optimize and scale groundbreaking, naturally-inspired crop protection solutions.”
Companies across numerous industries use Ginkgo’s cell programming platform to find better, more sustainable ways to create products, including food ingredients, fragrances, cosmetics, medicines, and more. By enabling the design of organisms that can produce valuable biological products, Boston-based Ginkgo says it helps accelerate the development of innovative, bio-based solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
“At Ginkgo, we fundamentally believe that biology is the best technology on the planet because it can move more rapidly and efficiently than traditional approaches with less impact on the environment,” said Jason Kelly, CEO, Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. “Food loss is a significant issue impacting so many communities around the world, and we’re excited to see what Ginkgo and Corteva can accomplish together to advance novel, environmentally sustainable, biological solutions to protect crops around the world.”
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