Awakening Dormant Genes to Create Salt-Tolerant Rice
Canadian startup ALORA has created “the most salt-tolerant terrestrial plant on the planet” with their gene-edited rice. Using CRISPR technology, ALORA has successfully reactivated a dormant gene that is responsible for enhancing salt tolerance in plants. This gene is naturally active in seagrasses and other coastal plants, meaning its activation in rice will open up opportunities to cultivate in similar, high-saline environments. Additionally, this will address salinity issues farmers experience from excessive fertilizer use, which has been detrimental to conventional crops. As of now, the company is leaps ahead of their competition, working with rice crops that can grow in water containing eight times more salt than competing products. Trials are underway at the University of Guelph in Ontario, and if successful, ALORA has three commercial partners ready for collaboration.
CRISPR technology never ceases to amaze, once again reaffirming its position as one of the most significant tech advancements shaping our future. ALORA’s application can revolutionize the way we think about agriculture. Imagine a world where you can grow anything you want from anywhere you please. ALORA has brought this idea to life, cracking open the door to a new frontier of agriculture—brackish, or even ocean, water.