CRISPR Technology Takes Center Stage at SXSW 2024 for the First Time

Expert Panel Discusses Uses of CRISPR in Food and Agriculture, How the Technology Will Help Improve Climate Resilience in Crops and Convenience in Nutrient-Dense Foods

Durham, N.C., March 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The panel “The First CRISPR Foods Have Arrived” at this year’s SXSW Conference included leading agricultural scientists, researchers, and innovation drivers. Dr. Tom Adams, Co-Founder and CEO of pioneering gene editing company Pairwise, was joined by Dr. Vipula Shukla, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Elena Del Pup, PhD candidate and researcher at Wageningen University, for a conversation about CRISPR’s potential to revolutionize how the world develops and grows fruits, vegetables, and staple crops that can better withstand climate change, while improving nutrition and taste and accelerating innovation in the global food system. 


WIRED’s biotechnology writer, Emily Mullin, moderated the discussion including the public’s growing acceptance of tech-enabled foods, and recent gene editing successes such as Pairwise’s partnership with Bayer to increase yield in short-stature, climate-friendly corn. 


“We have steadily seen an increase in consumer interest around using technology for produce innovation. We saw this firsthand when we launched the first CRISPR food product in North American marketplace last year,” said Tom Adams, Co-Founder and CEO of Pairwise. “From row crops to consumer food products, we see a general understanding of how powerfully beneficial CRISPR can be, but there’s also an expectation of transparency in how the technology is used. We are committed to meeting that expectation in all the work we do.” 


Awareness of CRISPR technology has grown significantly in recent years, with scientists unlocking innovations in human health, medicine, and agriculture.  


While CRISPR has seen significant developments in the private health and agriculture sector, panel participants also debated key enablers necessary for the technology to achieve widespread adoption. To maximize its impact, it will be important for a breadth of stakeholders to have access the technology, including smallholder farmers around the world, and that research and development efforts consider a variety of global needs beyond first-world countries. 


“CRISPR is a tool that makes plant breeding immensely more efficient and effective, which allows us to innovate faster to solve major agricultural challenges in years, not decades,” added Adams. “With effective application of the technology, we can use CRISPR to deliver major societal and climate benefits through improvements in the food and agriculture sector. As we see the power of CRISPR in therapeutic applications, we’re also pioneering what’s possible with plants. This is an incredibly exciting time.” 


As CRISPR technology has advanced, it has attracted a new generation of researchers across the world. “I am passionate about this work because I want to develop tools and methods to drive impact and a new wave of innovation in plant breeding,” said Elena Del Pup, PhD candidate and researcher at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. “The work we are doing in the EU is extremely meaningful, however there remain regulatory questions around making the jump from the research stage to the product development stage.”  


For more information about Pairwise and innovations in CRISPR visit  




About Pairwise:   

Pairwise is pioneering the application of CRISPR technology in food and agriculture. The company brings together leaders in agriculture, technology, and consumer foods to harness the transformative potential of new genomics technologies to create innovative new products. Pairwise is working to develop new varieties of crops, and to partner with organizations that seek to deliver innovation across the plant-based economy. Backed by industry leading investors Deerfield, Aliment Capital, Leaps by Bayer, and Temasek, Pairwise raised $90 million in a successful series B funding round in February 2021, bringing total fundraising to $115 million. The company was founded by Chief Executive Officer Tom Adams and Chief Business Officer Haven Baker, with scientific co-founders J. Keith Joung, Lead Translator at Arena BioWorks; David Liu, Director of the Merkin Institute of Transformative Technologies in Healthcare, and Vice-Chair of the Faculty at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT; and Feng Zhang, McGovern Investigator and a professor at MIT. For more information, visit, and learn more about the differentiating Pairwise FulcrumTM platform here.  


Pairwise Media Contact: 

Diana Souder  



CRISPR Technology Takes Center Stage at SXSW 2024 for the First Time

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