NewsPlant Translational Biology

The plant engineer

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Science  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6305, pp. 1220-1224
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6305.1220

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As a child, Dan Voytas developed a green thumb and business savvy running his own seedling business. Now, marrying his academic research with a company, he's poised to reshape 21st century agriculture. Over the past 20 years, he has pioneered new ways of precisely editing a crop's DNA to give it new traits or delete undesirable ones. It's an approach that is potentially more powerful than the traditional way of making genetically modified (GM) crops, and because it leaves no foreign DNA behind, it could free these products from the stigma and regulatory burden of being labeled as GM organisms. But to get to this point, he has had to overcome recalcitrant technologies, navigate intellectual property fights, and endure commercial failures.