Researchers & Companies Across Missouri Look for New Ways to Feed the World

On research farms across the Midwest and at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri, researchers continue to work to find new crop technology, new ways to grow better crops and even methods to grow the markets for those crops.

Blake Meyers, a member of the Danforth Plant Science Center and a plant sciences professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, studies gene editing in crops. Recently he told Missouri Farmer Today that gene editing has enormous potential for agriculture.

“I think we’re still scratching the surface,” said Meyers. “It’s on the horizon, but in a huge way. It gives us the option to make genetic changes with information we already know.”

Meyers says that while GMO technology involves inserting a “large chunk of DNA” into organisms, gene editing is much more precise.

“With gene editing, you’re talking about … very small tweaks to the DNA,” said Meyers. “But you don’t have to introduce that large chunk of DNA. With gene editing, by its very nature it’s just more precise than GMO-based approaches.”

And Meyers is just one of many in Missouri changing the future of agriculture. The push for higher yields and more resilient crops is a focus area for the entire state, in the fields and in the labs, and Missouri is on the forefront of the latest innovation.

Missouri’s agtech industry, with its focus on innovative technology and research in plant science and animal health, is transforming agriculture. Across Missouri, leading agtech organizations are either headquartered in the state or have large and significant operations, including the Danforth Plant Science Center, Bayer CropScience, the Missouri Botanical GardenYield LabDuPontBASF, and Bunge.

And it’s not just technology that makes Missouri the global agtech leader, the world-class talent is, well, world class. Universities across the state offer advanced plant science degrees, and Missouri is home to the highest concentration of plant science PhD’s in the world.

And then add the fact that Missouri’s new agtech innovation community, 39 North, is taking root in St. Louis. The district covers nearly 600 acres in Missouri and includes many of the region’s top agtech companies, including the Danforth Plant Science Center, Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park, and the Helix Center Biotech Incubator. 39 North is geared toward providing the lifestyle often sought by today’s highly-skilled scientific workers, with a mix of retail, residential, and office space connected by walking and biking trails.

It is easy to see why agtech companies are choosing Missouri as the best place to grow and expand their research capabilities. For more details on Missouri’s worldwide agtech leadership, check out our article on why Missouri is THE global leader in agtech.

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