US companies announce plans for gene-edited strawberries

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho company that successfully brought genetically modified potatoes to the market has announced an agreement to help a California-based plant breeding company grow strawberries they say will stay fresh longer and have a longer growing season. J.R. Simplot Company and Plant Sciences Inc. said Thursday they expect to launch the first commercially available, gene-edited strawberries within a few years. U.S. growers produced $2.2 billion in strawberries in 2020, but consumers discarded an estimated 35% of the crop due to spoilage. The two privately-held companies say genetically modified strawberries will help reduce waste and make them available to consumers much of the year.