CRISPR has been developed over the past 30 years. The tool has already produced revolutionary breakthroughs in the treatment of genetic diseases and in the future, it could change agriculture forever.
CRISPR introduces new traits into a plant by simply rewriting its genetic code. Genome editing techniques, such as Crispr can be used to generate plant varieties that are better adapted to our changing climate or that can contribute to improving our environments such as robust crops that require less or no agrochemicals or nutrients. Also, European consumers could benefit from e.g. genome-edited healthier or better-tasting vegetables.
On a global scale, genome-edited plants would be a powerful tool to help to increase our food production by 70% which is the forecasted need by 2050. For developing countries, the necessary increase will be even about 200% in order to prevent further food shortages along with their socio-economic consequences and even famine.
CHIC project: Chicory as a multipurpose crop for dietary fiber and medicinal terpenes
CHIC is an innovation project aimed at implementing New Plant Breeding Techniques in chicory, in order to establish it as a multipurpose crop for sustainable molecular farming of products with consumer benefits.
Chicory contains many healthy substances which can, for example, slow down the growth of fungi and bacteria. The crop is very difficult to breed using the current technologies, breeding, and selection, and it is also hard to increase production of the healthy components.
New breeding techniques such as Crispr-Cas can be used to develop new chicory varieties, which contain more fibers and components suitable for medicinal applications.
About CHIC Project
CHIC is the Chicory Innovation Consortium. Its objective is to implement New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) in chicory in order to establish it as a multipurpose crop for the production of health-related products with clear benefits for consumers and to develop co-innovation pathways with stakeholders for game-changing technologies, such as NPBTs. CHIC will develop four different NPBTs. They will be used to steer bioprocesses in chicory and mobilize its under-explored potential to produce immunomodulatory prebiotics and medicinal terpenes. The conceptually different NPBTs will be assessed with respect to technological potential, risks, regulatory framework, and their socio-economic impacts. This will be done in close consultation with a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) composed of relevant stakeholders in industry and society.