US agricultural bioscience company Yield10 Bioscience announced on 17 August that it had obtained a positive response from the USDA-APHIS’s Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) for its CRISPR genome-edited C3007 trait in canola plant lines developed for increased oil content.

“Confirmation of the regulatory status of the plants will enable us to conduct field tests of CRISPR genome-edited canola plants in the USA in the 2021 growing season,” the company said.

Yield10 said the USDA-APHIS response confirmed that canola plant lines containing the C3007 trait did not meet the definition of a regulated article under rules which restrict the introduction of GMOs believed to be plant pests.

Clarification of the regulatory status was a “major milestone in the development programme to produce new varieties of canola with a higher oil content,” said Yield10 chief science officer Kristi Snell.

The company explained that the protein encoded by C3007 was a novel, negative regulator of the enzyme acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase), the key enzyme for producing fatty acids for oil biosynthesis. In pilot studies, reducing the activity of the protein encoded by C3007 resulted in significantly increased oil content in seeds.

Yield10 and plant genetic specialist GDM have also signed a research agreement to evaluate novel soyabean yield traits, Biofuels Digest reported on 16 August.

Under the agreement, GDM planned to work with Yield10’s soyabean research and development programme to improve yield performance and sustainability.

The programme’s first phase would include three novel crop yield traits, with the potential to expand the research to more traits in the future.

In greenhouse and/or field tests performed by Yield10 to date, these novel traits had shown a range of promising activities relevant to soyabean such as improved vigour, increased photosynthesis and/or increased seed yield, Biofuels Digest said.