Climate and Sustainable Agriculture

Climate change, crop diseases, and hunger are intimately intertwined problems. We are using genome engineering as a tool to address all three.

We are developing and deploying genome-editing technology to capture and sequester more greenhouse gases and to develop climate-friendly agricultural solutions for farmers in developing countries. Our focus is on those most vulnerable to a changing climate, and areas in agriculture that are underdeveloped by the commercial sector.

Key Goals

Discovery: Explore the genetic basis of crop plant disease resistance, climate change tolerance, and microbial carbon capture
Delivery: Create new, efficient methods of delivering CRISPR to crop plants and making precise, non-transgenic edits to plant genomes
Development: Engineer plants that resist infection, tolerate drought, minimize farmer inputs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Translation: Ensure that genomic innovations in climate and agriculture reach the real world at scale and meet community needs
Plant Genomics and Transformation Facility

Plant Genomics & Transformation Facility

Located in the Innovative Genomics Institute Building at UC Berkeley, the Plant Genomics and Transformation Facility (PGTF) has established transformation and genome editing protocols for over 25 major crop species and collaborates with agricultural institutions around the world.

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Flagship Projects

Close-up of wild rice plants

Reducing Agricultural Inputs & Emissions

We are advancing a 360° approach to making rice more sustainable.

Rice is a staple crop for more than half the world’s population — but also a major source of methane emissions around the world. Our researchers are working to develop rice varieties that require less water and fertilizer inputs, with stable or enhanced yields, as well as varieties that are resistant to our changing climate, and produce less greenhouse gas.

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The plant nuclear envelope is a tissue associated with multiple genetic disorders

CRISPR for Carbon Sequestration

We are developing a suite of new techniques to enhance biological carbon capture and sequestration.

IGI researchers are taking bold new approaches to sequester carbon from the atmosphere: editing plants to take up more carbon via improved photosynthesis, increasing underground storage of carbon in plant roots, and working with soil microbes to promote long-term storage of carbon in soil.

banana tree

Disease-Resistant Crops

We are safeguarding important crops against dangerous pathogens.

Banana, cacao, and wheat — three of the world’s most important and beloved crops — are threatened by disease. IGI researchers are working to make them resistant to these dangerous pathogens, while developing technology that can be used more broadly to induce disease resistance in these and other important crop plants.

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