Agritech Report

The market for crop biotechnology will reach $42 billion by 2030

Crop Biotechnology 2020-2030

Genetic technologies in agriculture: tools, trends and markets

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21st century agriculture is facing some major challenges. The global population is set to increase to over 10 billion by 2050, something the UN estimates will require an increase of 70% from today's global food production. At the same time, resources are dwindling - the loss of agricultural land stemming from climate change and urbanisation coupled with plateauing crop yields will present major challenges to every nation on earth. Crop Biotechnology 2020-2030, a new report from IDTechEx, explores the use of biotechnology as a potential solution to these challenges. The report provides an in-depth technical insight into the different genetic technologies used in crop agriculture, while also exploring the regulatory and market landscapes in which they operate.
This is not the first time that world has faced a food crisis This is not the first time that the world has faced a food crisis due to plateauing yields and growing populations. In the 1960s, famine threatened much of Asia, with Paul Ehrlich's 1968 bestseller "The Population Bomb" predicting that famines centred in India would kill hundreds of millions across the following decades.
This bleak future was mostly avoided, largely thanks to a revolution in agritech that began in Mexico known as the Green Revolution. Using selective breeding, American biologist Norman Borlaug created a high yield strain of wheat that led to more grain per acre. This significantly boosted Mexico's agricultural output. Soon, similar strategies were used in India to develop high yield IR8 rice. These selective breeding strategies, alongside advances in fertiliser and mechanisation technologies led to a boom in global food production, with cereal production in Asia doubling between 1970 and 1995.
Selective breeding is just one of a series of techniques for manipulating the DNA of plants that can be used to benefit agriculture. Over the past few decades, the genetic engineering tools available to scientists has expanded to include methods such as mutagenesis and transgenic breeding, the technique used to develop the crops widely known as "genetically modified". However, in recent years, technological advances such as next generation DNA sequencing and gene editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9 have vastly expanded the capabilities of genetic engineering. This has led to much excitement in the field of agricultural biotechnology, with proponents hoping that modern genetic technologies could help usher in a new Green Revolution of agricultural productivity.
A comparison of genetic engineering techniques. Source: Crop biotechnology 2020-2030
Despite the enormous potential of genetic technologies in agriculture, their implementation has often been controversial. Public hostility to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), particularly in Europe, has contributed to a harsh regulatory landscape in many countries that has limited the uptake of GM crops across much of the world and presented major barriers to introducing new transgenic traits into crops. It can take several years and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment to develop a new transgenic crop, something which has contributed to a high degree of consolidation in the agricultural biotechnology industry - currently four companies account for over 60% of an increasingly stagnating industry.
However, there are signs that this may be changing, largely thanks to new gene editing technologies. Gene editing, particularly CRISPR technologies, are much quicker and easier to use than traditional transgenic breeding, leading to hopes that it could democratise crop biotechnology by significantly reducing the barriers to entry.
Things could also be brighter from a regulatory standpoint. In 2016, the US Department of Agriculture announced that a CRISPR-edited non-browning mushroom fell outside of if its GM regulations, mostly because the mushroom did not contain any foreign genes, only an edited version of its natural genome. This is a key different between traditional GMOs and gene edited crops: GMOs are generated through the transgenic insertion of foreign DNA sequences, whereas genome editing techniques involve changing the organism's native genome. The ruling opened the door for other crops developed using gene editing technology and signalled a broader regulatory lenience towards gene editing in agriculture across much of the world. However, gene editing suffered a setback in 2018, when the European Court of Justice ruled that it fell under the EU's existing GMO regulations, leaving the technology in a state of limbo in the EU.
The rapid pace of technological development, coupled with the ongoing regulatory uncertainties, mean that crop biotechnology is currently at a pivotal point. Crop Biotechnology 2020-2030 provides in-depth technical insight into the tools and techniques that underpin the field, as well as discussing the regulations and markets that will impact the industry's growth. Finally, the report provides an outlook for the future of crop biotechnology, forecasting the growth of the industry and discussing the key drivers and restraints that could decide the impact of crop biotechnology on the global agricultural landscape.
Key questions answered in this report
  • What challenges are facing global agriculture?
  • What are the key recent developments in genetic technologies?
  • How are conventional breeding, genetic modification and gene editing different from each other?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method?
  • How can synthetic biology be used in agriculture?
  • What does the global regulatory environment look like?
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Table of Contents
1.1.21st century agriculture is facing major challenges
1.2.The need for alternatives to conventional herbicides
1.3.Crop biotechnology
1.4.How could crop biotechnology help?
1.5.Genetics can help save dying crops
1.6.A comparison of genetic engineering techniques
1.7.Genetic engineering is widely used in agriculture
1.8.The Americas dominate GMO production
1.9.Transgenic crops have clear benefits for farmers
1.10.Future directions for transgenic crops
1.11.A comparison of genome editing techniques
1.12.CRISPR could significantly reduce time to market
1.13.A comparison of genetic manipulation technologies
1.14.Synthetic biology in agriculture
1.15.How could synthetic biology benefit agriculture?
1.16.Plants as production systems compared with other cells
1.17.Global differences in regulation for genetic engineering
1.18.Regulating GM foods in the US and EU
1.19.Global policy developments towards gene editing
1.20.Consumer attitudes to technology in agriculture
1.21.The "Big Four" of crop biotechnology
1.22.Total agricultural revenue of the Big Four (2010-2019)
1.23.Could CRISPR democratise crop biotechnology?
1.24.Crop biotechnology start-up landscape
1.25.The future of crop biotechnology
1.26.Crop biotechnology forecast by method
1.27.Global crop biotechnology market forecast by region
2.1.21st century agriculture is facing major challenges
2.2.The problem with pathogens
2.3.Types of plant pathogens
2.4.Global pesticide use
2.5.The need for alternatives to conventional herbicides
2.6.The threat of topsoil erosion
2.7.The environmental impacts of food and agriculture
2.8.Crop biotechnology
2.9.How could crop biotechnology help?
2.10.Crop biotechnology case study: Roundup Ready
2.11.Genetics can help save dying crops
2.12.The power of crop biotechnology: The Green Revolution
2.13.Transgenic crops have clear benefits for farmers
2.14.A brief history of key biotechnology advances
2.15.What is the plant microbiome?
2.16.Manipulating the microbiome to improve crops
2.17.Other IDTechEx reports on genetic technologies
3.1.The basics
3.1.1.What is DNA?
3.1.2.Genetics: jargon buster
3.1.3.Genetics: jargon buster
3.2.DNA sequencing
3.2.1.DNA sequencing
3.2.2.Costs of DNA sequencing have fallen dramatically
3.2.3.First generation DNA sequencing - Sanger sequencing
3.2.4.Next generation sequencing (NGS)
3.2.5.Third generation sequencing
3.3.Artificial DNA synthesis
3.3.1.Artificial gene synthesis
3.3.2.DNA Synthesis: past and present
3.3.3.Phosphoramidite method for oligonucleotide synthesis
3.4.Genome editing
3.4.1.Genome editing
3.4.2.Approaches to genome editing
3.4.3.TALENs and ZFNs
3.4.5.CRISPR-Cas9: A Bacterial Immune System
3.4.6.CRISPR can have multiple outcomes
3.4.7.What can CRISPR do?
3.4.8.A comparison of genome editing techniques
3.4.9.A comparison of genome editing techniques
3.4.10.The IP situation for gene editing technologies
3.4.11.Patent applications in ZFNs, TALENs and meganucleases
3.4.12.Key players in genome editing
3.4.13.Who owns CRISPR-Cas9 and why is it so problematic?
3.4.14.The Broad Institute and the University of California
3.4.15.The Broad Institute and the University of California
3.4.16.Commercialising CRISPR-Cas9
3.4.17.Licensing Agreements with Commercial Enterprises
3.4.18.The wide landscape of CRISPR patents
3.4.19.The CRISPR race
3.4.20.Companies are Finding Ways of Avoiding Royalties
3.4.21.Products Engineered Using CRISPR-Cas9
3.4.22.The Outlook for CRISPR-Cas9
4.1.Genetic engineering
4.1.1.What is genetic engineering?
4.1.2.A comparison of genetic engineering techniques
4.2.Selective breeding
4.2.1.Selective breeding: a form of genetic manipulation
4.2.2.Types of selective breeding
4.2.3.Problems with selective breeding
4.2.4.Genomics: improving the efficiency of selective breeding
4.2.5.Selective breeding for improving tomatoes
4.2.6.Marker-assisted selection
4.2.7.Marker-assisted selection: disease resistant tomatoes
4.2.8.Quantitative trait locus analysis
4.2.9.Principles of mapping quantitative trait loci
4.2.10.QTL analysis and selective breeding: Equinom
4.2.12.Using the microbiome to improve disease resistance
4.2.13.Networking the microbiome
4.2.14.The importance of diversity
4.2.15.Academic examples of bacterial treatments for crop improvement
4.3.Genetically modified organisms
4.3.1.Genetically modified organisms
4.3.2.GMOs: issues with terminology
4.3.4.Distribution of mutagenic crops worldwide
4.3.5.RNA interference (RNAi)
4.3.6.Transgenic organisms
4.3.7.Genetic engineering is widely used in agriculture
4.3.8.The Americas dominate GMO production
4.3.9.Examples of transgenic crops approved in the USA
4.3.10.Future directions for transgenic crops
4.4.Genome editing in agriculture
4.4.1.How is genome editing different to genetic modification?
4.4.2.Calyxt: the first commercial gene edited crop
4.4.4.The CRISPR revolution
4.4.5.CRISPR could significantly reduce time to market
4.4.6.Delivery of CRISPR reagents to plants
4.4.7.How CRISPR is being used to improve crops
4.4.8.CRISPR in action: domesticating wild tomatoes
4.4.9.CRISPR in action: non-browning mushrooms
4.4.10.Challenges with CRISPR in agriculture
4.4.11.Future directions for CRISPR research in agriculture
4.4.12.Companies developing CRISPR-enhanced crops
4.4.13.Corteva Agriscience
4.4.14.Improved waxy corn: the first CRISPR-edited product?
4.4.15.Benson Hill
4.4.17.MSH1 silencing - crop epigenetics in action
4.4.18.Epicrop Technologies
4.4.19.A comparison of genetic manipulation technologies
4.5.Synthetic biology
4.5.1.What is synthetic biology?
4.5.2.Defining synthetic biology
4.5.3.The difference between synthetic biology and genetic engineering
4.5.4.The Scope of Synthetic Biology is Vast
4.5.5.IDTechEx research on synthetic biology
4.5.6.Ginkgo Bioworks
4.5.7.Ginkgo's automated approach to strain engineering
4.5.9.Synthetic biology in agriculture
4.5.10.How could synthetic biology benefit agriculture?
4.5.11.Crop Enhancement
4.5.12.Elo Life Systems
4.5.13.Increasing nutritional value
4.5.14.Synthetic metabolism to increase yields
4.5.15.C3 and C4 photosynthesis
4.5.16.Synthetic biology for improved drought tolerance
4.5.17.Yield10 Bioscience
4.5.18.Photoautotroph-based production
4.5.19.Mosspiration Biotech
4.5.20.Plant synthetic biology for biofuel production
4.5.21.Leaf Expression Systems
4.5.22.Plants as production systems compared with other cells
4.5.23.Challenges of recombinant protein production in plants
4.5.24.Renew Biopharma
4.5.25.BioBricks and PhytoBricks
4.5.26.Plant synthetic biology in action: phytosensors
4.5.27.Reducing fertiliser usage
4.5.28.Engineering the plant microbiome
4.5.29.Pivot Bio
4.5.30.Joyn Bio
5.1.1.The state of regulations for genetic engineering
5.1.2.Global differences in regulation for genetic engineering
5.1.3.Regulating GM foods in the US and EU
5.1.4.The US approach to GM food regulation
5.1.5.EPA, USDA and FDA all play a role in GMO regulations
5.1.6.The Plant Biotechnology Consultation Program
5.1.7.US regulations case study: Bt11 corn
5.1.8.The US is introducing labelling requirements
5.1.9.US regulations and genome editing
5.1.10.The EU approach to GM food regulation
5.1.11.The EU approach to GM food regulation
5.1.12.The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
5.1.13.EU regulations on mutagenesis
5.1.14.EU regulations: implications for gene editing
5.1.15.EU regulations: fit for purpose?
5.1.16.Europe's restrictive regulations are stymying innovation
5.1.17.Outlook on genetic technologies in Europe
5.1.18.Japanese regulations on GMOs
5.1.19.Chinese regulations and attitudes on GMOs
5.1.20.Global policy developments towards gene editing
5.2.Public acceptance
5.2.1.Consumer attitudes to technology in agriculture
5.2.2.Consumer hostility to GMOs
5.2.3."Monsanto is evil": a lesson in public relations
5.2.4."Monsanto is evil": a lesson in public relations
5.2.5.Learning Lessons from the Past: Golden Rice
5.2.6.Does public opinion matter?
5.2.7.Improving public opinion
5.2.8.Will CRISPR suffer the same public hostility?
5.3.Industry overview
5.3.1.The "Big Four" of agricultural biotechnology
5.3.2.Consolidation in agriculture - acquisitions by the Big Four
5.3.3.Bayer Crop Science
5.3.4.Bayer Crop Science: main products and brands
5.3.5.Bayer Crop Science: important collaborations
5.3.6.Bayer Crop Science product innovation pipeline
5.3.7.Bayer's acquisition of Monsanto: the worst deal ever?
5.3.9.BASF Agricultural Solutions
5.3.10.BASF's agricultural innovation pipeline
5.3.11.Plant biotechnology is extremely expensive
5.3.12.Syngenta (ChemChina)
5.3.13.ChemChina's acquisition of Syngenta
5.3.14.Corteva Agriscience
5.3.15.Total agricultural revenue of the Big Four (2010-2019)
5.3.16.Nutritionally-enhanced crops: why so slow?
5.3.17.The Golden Rice Project and omega-3 enriched canola
5.3.18.Could CRISPR democratise agricultural biotechnology?
5.3.19.Crop biotechnology start-up landscape
5.3.20.The rise of genetic engineering and subsequent patents
5.3.21.Impact on Economies, and Changing Opinions
5.3.22.To GM, or not to GM...that is the question
5.3.23.Private sector innovation is driving agricultural biotech
5.3.24.Agricultural biotech innovation is a global effort
5.3.25.Distribution of plant biotechnology innovation clusters
6.1.The future of crop biotechnology
6.2.Crop biotechnology forecast by method
6.3.Forecast: crop selective breeding
6.4.Forecast: GMOs (transgenics & cisgenics)
6.5.Forecast: gene editing
6.6.Global crop biotechnology market forecast by region
7.2.Background on COVID-19
7.3.COVID-19 as a pandemic
7.4.Economic impact of COVID-19
7.5.The impact of COVID-19 on IDTechEx forecasts
7.6.The impact of COVID-19 on agriculture
7.7.COVID-19 and agricultural biotechnology
7.8.COVID-19: can plant biotechnology help?

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