Mar. 22, 2022
Origin Agritech Ltd. (NASDAQ: SEED) (the "Company" or "Origin"), an agriculture technology company, announced that the company, together with its partner China Agricultural University, has submitted applications for biosafety certificates for six newly developed gene edited traits that significantly increase the yield of corn crops.
The new traits include change of the leaf angle and improvement in drought tolerance of corn. Changing the leaf angle and plant types will improve the photosynthesis efficiency and increase the planting population, which in turn increases yields. The new traits will also improve the water use efficiency and drought tolerance for corn plants. Origin is currently integrating these traits into its commercial hybrid corns, including the company's nutritionally enhanced corn.
In late January, China announced that the country would allow gene edited crops and that the approval process would be very streamlined as compared to the process for getting a new GMO trait approved. The policy reflects the fact that gene editing mimics naturally occurring mutations and that no foreign species' genes are inserted into the plant, in contrast to GMO. The resulting timeline for approval could be as fast as a year as compared to an 8-year approval timeline for GMO traits. Origin's new corn is one of the first gene edited corn in the approval process in China.
Origin began creating gene edited corn traits in 2017 and already has developed many other desirable traits. Additionally, Origin's insect resistant and herbicide tolerant GMO corn is also in the approval process. All of these traits could be integrated into these corn crops as well, further increasing yields.
"Given the current challenges facing the world of food inflation, environmental change and uncertainty of food exports from certain countries due to geopolitical events, we are thrilled to be playing a major role in improving food security," said Dr. Gengchen Han, Origin Agritech's Chairman. "Origin will release and market more high yield and environmentally friendly products to meet the food supply challenges through our wide collection of corn germplasm, advanced gene editing capabilities and also GMO technology."