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10 Years of CRISPR

June 28th, 2022 marks 10 years since Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna published the paper that would open up CRISPR to new tech that nourishes people and our planet. These two scientists received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020 for their ground breaking discovery.

The History

According to the Broad Institute, CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, "are the hallmark of a bacterial defense system that forms the basis for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology." This revolutionary technology takes advantage of a natural system that evolved in bacteria to help protect them from viruses. 

Watch Pairwise co-founder Feng Zhang explain CRISPR in less than 2 mins: 


The Applications

Today, CRISPR is used to make small tweaks in the DNA of many different species. Applications include:

  • Treating genetic diseases in humans: In fact, one of our scientific co-founders, David R. Liu, also co-founded Beam Theraputics which is testing treatment for patients with sickle cell anemia
  • Controlling diseases spread by insects like malaria
  • Improving crops to help feed people while addressing climate change: From salt stress resistant rice in Bangladesh to healthier tomatoes in the UK to disease-resistant food security crops, like cassava, in Africa, CRISPR is addressing many food and nutrition insecurity challenges across the globe

The Possibilities

Pairwise is using CRISPR technology in 14 different crops to advance our mission of building a healthier world through better fruits and vegetables. 

As CRISPR turns 10, we're also rolling out our first product meant to directly benefit people - a nutrient dense leafy green with improved flavor. Look for it in supermarkets in 2023 under the Conscious Foods brand.

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