This is a short list of some of the commonly known private companies that are developing genetically engineered crops. It is not an exhaustive list of all companies, but it should help you get familiar with some of them. Also, genetic engineering in agriculture is not exclusively done by private companies – many public organizations and nonprofits are also developing the technology.
The Big Six
These six companies are the major players in agricultural genetic engineering in the private sector. Many of them have extensive plant breeding operations across the world, and then add transgenic traits to the varieties they breed.
- Monsanto (NYSE: MON) is based in St. Louis, Missouri. Monsanto has the largest market share of GE crops in the world.
- Pioneer Hi-Bred International is based in Johnston, Iowa. Pioneer is a subsidiary of DuPont (not publicly traded).
- Syngenta AG (NYSE:SYT) is based in Basel, Switzerland.
- Dow Agrosciences is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dow Agrosciences is a subsidiary of Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW).
- BASF (OTC:BASFY) is based in Ludwigshafen, Germany. While primarily a chemical company, they are rapidly expanding their biotechnology division.
- Bayer Cropscience is based in Monheim, Germany. Bayer Cropscience is a subsidiary of Bayer (OTC:BAYRY).
There are a lot more companies working on genetic engineering than just the Big Six. Many of them study individual traits, and if successful in their research, may license their technology to larger companies that can incorporate it into their crops. Some are developing their own varieties and breeds and seeking regulatory approval.
- Aqua Bounty is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. They develop improved fish for aquaculture, and are close to obtaining approval for the first biotech animal for food production: fast growing salmon.
- ArborGen LLC is based in Summerville, South Carolina. They study the genetics of trees, from wood quality to restoring endangered tree species such as the American Chestnut.
- Arcadia Biosciences is based in Davis, California. They develop nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) for crops, as well as salt tolerance, and works on the healthful composition of foods.
- Exelixis is based in South San Francisco, California.
- Mendel Biotechnology is based in Hayward, California. They have developed a yield-increasing trait in soybeans using genetic engineering.
- Targeted Growth, Inc. is based in Seattle, Washington.
- Florigene Pty Ltd, based in Victoria, is a subsidiary of Suntory Group in Tokyo, Japan. Their research focuses on introducing new colors into ornamental flowers and have produced the world’s first purple carnations and the first true blue rose.
- Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. is based in Summerland, British Columbia. They work on tree-fruit traits, and are currently pursuing deregulation of their non-browing apple.
- Performance Plants, Inc. is based in Kingston, Ontario. They conduct research on abiotic stress and yield, and biofuel-related traits.
- SemBioSys is based in Calgary, Alberta. They work on pharmaceutical traits and are developing GLA-rich safflower oil.
- Mahyco is based in Dawalwadi. They have partnered with Monsanto to introduce Bt cotton to India.
- Metahelix Life Sciences Pvt Ltd is based in Karnataka. They own Dhaanya Seeds.
- Evogene is based in Rehovot.
- Protalix is based in Carmiel. They conduct research on producing therapeutical proteins in plant cells.
- Genetwister Technologies B.V. is based in Wageningen. They use functional genomics and expression profiling to discover important genes in plants.
- KeyGene is based in Wageningen. Founded by several large Netherlands seed companies, it is a cooperative research group that conducts genomic research on plant genetics. One of the crops they work on is aphid-resistant lettuce. They also have a US office in Maryland.
- Pannar Seed International, based in Greytown, South Africa, is also venturing into biotechnology.
Do you know a company that we can add to the list? Has the status of any of these companies changed?
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