New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) enabled by precision gene editing improve the accuracy and the speed of traditional breeding process. These new processes have moved agriculture beyond GMO technologies as they can be performed without introducing foreign materials or transgenes in the final product. These products are indistinguishable from traditional breeding (or nature). They hold the promise to reshape the traditional crop protection business by ushering in a new era of sustainable agriculture in which crop protection chemicals with heathier, sustainable crop protection traits in plants.
RTDS: the Rapid Trait Development System™ is Cibus’ proprietary gene editing breeding platform. RTDS is a family of technologies that are protected by over 300 patents and patent applications that cover multiple layers of intellectual property.
The advantage of the RTDS crop specific breeding platforms is its accuracy, speed, and cost. Besides requiring the introduction of recombinant DNA (foreign genetic material) to develop a trait, the GMO breeding process is expensive and time-consuming. Not only does RTDS not integrate any foreign genetic material such as transgenes or recombinant DNA, but the RTDS breeding process is significantly faster, more efficient, and scalable.
This is the power and the opportunity behind Cibus’ gene editing technology platform, RTDS. It enables us to respond more quickly to changes in the environment than Mother Nature could. It can create Crop Protection Trait Products enabling disease resistance, insect control and weed control. In addition, because of its speed and accuracy, in areas like disease resistance, it will also enable traits to address new pathogens or variants that appear in our changing environment. In essence, RTDS allows us to accelerate natural evolution by enabling plants to respond more quickly to the changes in their environment.
One of the pillars of RTDS is a patented technology called Oligonucleotide Directed Mutagenesis (or ODM). In the recent European Food Safety report on gene editing, ODM was prominently referenced. It was also prominently mentioned in the EU study on gene editing released in May 2021. In each case, they reported that this key component of RTDS does not pose more hazards than conventional breeding. It is because of studies like the EU report that increasingly governments are regulating products from RTDS on the same basis as traditional breeding.
We believe that when the current global regulatory processes conclude, our RTDS breeding platform will be regulated globally on the same basis as conventional breeding and that our trait products will be as accepted globally.
To date, we have successfully built integrated crop specific RTDS breeding platforms for Canola and Rice. We are currently building breeding platforms for Soybean, Wheat and Corn. We expect to have a Soybean platform established by year end 2022, a Wheat platform established by 2023 and a Corn platform established by 2025.
This is why we say that RTDS is Reshaping Crop Protection. RTDS has the ability to:
- Develop crop protection traits that will address the major challenges for which presently chemical crop protection products are used; and
- Continually update and improve our family of crop protection trait products to keep pace with our changing environment.
We believe that, for each crop for which we have built an RTDS breeding platform, we will have the fastest, most efficient and lowest cost gene editing-based breeding system. This ability to materially change the speed and efficiency of the breeding process is one of the key breakthroughs of the precision gene editing revolution.