Metabolix announced the launch of Yield10 Bioscience to develop and commercialize innovations in crop science. The focus is to develop proprietary, breakthrough technologies to improve yield in major food crops based on Yield10’s “T3 Platform Technology”.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the global population is projected to grow from seven billion to nine billion by 2050, driving the need for a 70 percent increase in food production. The projected rise in population, as well as growing pressure on water and land resources requires new agricultural solutions to increase yield in food, feed and energy crops worldwide.
Yield10 is leveraging the metabolic diversity found in nature to achieve step changes in photosynthetic carbon fixation and eliminate inefficiencies in plant carbon metabolism in combination with a transcriptome targeted metabolic engineering systems approach (T3 Platform Technology) to achieve step changes in food crop seed yield. Objectives of interest through Yield10’s advanced metabolic engineering capabilities include:
- C3 photosynthetic crops including oilseeds –increased photosynthetic carbon fixation, increased efficiency of converting fixed carbon to seed, increased partitioning of fixed carbon to seed to achieve dramatic changes in seed yield.
- C4 photosynthetic crops including switchgrass, sugarcane and corn –increased photosynthesis and biomass production, increased stress tolerance, increased seed yield.
By focusing on improving the overall efficiency of seed production in crops the company believes it will also be able to achieve step change reductions in harvested seed per unit input such as fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals.
At Canola Innovation Day, held Dec. 2-3 in Saskatoon, Canada, Dr. Olly Peoples made a presentation focusing on our systems-based approach to driving carbon capture and carbon flow to shift carbon to produce step changes in oilseed yield. He also described results from a novel multigene pathway to increase seed size and to increase the oil content of seed. This work was done in the oilseed Camelina and has application to canola and soybean as well as other major food crops including wheat and rice. Learn more about Yield10 and view the entire presentation here.
Additional work is in progress to explore how the “T3 Platform Technology” developed at Metabolix enabled the identification of proprietary global transcription factors or master switches to upregulate a series of genetic and metabolic cascades resulting in a greater than 40% increase in photosynthetic carbon capture in C4 monocots. By querying the genes in these upregulated cascades the company is exploring new ways to more narrowly target specific genes and gene combinations to discover methods to increase carbon flow to seed production and/or improve water use efficiency and stress tolerance. Based on this approach the company has identified a series of trait genes, some of which are amenable to emerging genome editing technologies such as the CRISPR/cas9 system. The company has initiated projects to determine the impact of these master gene switches in food crops including sugarcane and corn.
For more information on Yield10 Biosciences, visit http://www.yield10bio.com/.