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Pairwise Earns USDA Exemption Confirmations for Genomic Edits in Berries

  • Exemptions parallel recent technical advances in Pairwise innovation pipeline

Durham, N.C., Jan. 26, 2024  Pairwise, a health-focused food and agriculture company, has received confirmation of nine new regulatory exemptions from the USDA, enabling accelerated innovation and the company’s ability to deliver differentiated new products to the marketplace. 

Per the USDA, plants with edits that meet the requirements for these exemptions are “achievable by conventional breeding.” These new exemptions represent an array of traits that are important to both consumers and growers. These new nine bring the total number of Pairwise’s confirmed trait exemptions for berries to 19, which include seedless, thornless and higher-yielding traits in blackberry and black raspberry. The company’s total number of confirmed exemptions is now 21, which it achieved in 15 months.  

The berry exemptions are part of a larger batch from the USDA, signifying the breadth and depth of the application of CRISPR and other gene editing techniques to both increase biodiversity and to deliver new varieties of crops based on meaningful traits, like ensuring year-round supply and maximizing yield. With the increasing pressures brought on by climate change and other global disruptors, CRISPR stands to be an important solution in addressing the problems of a strained global food system. 

“Successfully securing these exemptions speaks to the power of the Pairwise Fulcrum platform and our ability to deliver differentiated products,” Dan Jenkins, Pairwise Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs. “Our expert team at Pairwise uses CRISPR and gene editing techniques to transform plants and the production systems that are built upon them, delivering food and agriculture innovation that could otherwise be achieved through conventional breeding – faster and more effectively. We applaud the USDA for confirming these science-based exemptions, which bolster our ability to deliver progress in specialty and row crops, and better reflect the science of what is possible in conventional plant breeding.” 

Pairwise has taken a leadership position in mapping the genome and understanding the phenotypic diversity of the Rubus genus, working closely with USDA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Plant Sciences, Inc, and major research universities including North Carolina State University, Cornell University, and the University of Arkansas in a three-year genome-wide association study (GWAS) from 2020-22.  

Read the official confirmation letters at, and learn more at


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About Pairwise:   

Pairwise is pioneering the application of CRISPR technology in food and agriculture. The company brings together leaders in agriculture, technology, and consumer foods to harness the transformative potential of new genomics technologies to create innovative new products. Pairwise is working to develop new varieties of crops, and to partner with organizations that seek to deliver innovation across the plant-based economy. Backed by industry leading investors Deerfield, Aliment Capital, Leaps by Bayer, and Temasek, Pairwise raised $90 million in a successful series B funding round in February 2021, bringing total fundraising to $115 million. The company was founded by Chief Executive Officer Tom Adams and Chief Business Officer Haven Baker, with scientific co-founders J. Keith Joung, Lead Translator at Arena BioWorks; David Liu, Director of the Merkin Institute of Transformative Technologies in Healthcare, and Vice-Chair of the Faculty at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT; and Feng Zhang, McGovern Investigator and a professor at MIT. For more information, visit, and learn more about the differentiating Pairwise FulcrumTM platform here.   

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Diana Souder

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