Building on plant breeding practices that have existed for centuries, new gene editing techniques, such as CRISPR, offer exciting potential to accelerate progress in the area of agricultural and plant resilience. We believe this pioneering technology has the potential to improve crops, and, in turn, enhance the livelihoods of the many smallholder farmers in our Mars value chains.
We are working with leading universities, including the University of California, Berkeley, to conduct preliminary research into the potential benefits of CRISPR on cacao, peanut, maize and mint. The aim of this research is to enable farmers to breed crops that are high-yield, climate- and disease-resistant, as well as water- and nutrient-efficient. Our current focus is exclusively on plant science, and we do not conduct any research relating to the application of CRISPR in humans or animals. Any change or expansion of this scope will need to be evaluated and approved by our scientific and ethical review advisory boards.
We support the use of ongoing science-based assessments to understand and address any inherent risks related to this technology. Further, we support the development of a regulatory environment that enables the use of gene editing techniques in food ingredients, promotes transparency of their use to consumers and moves toward harmonized classification and requirements for these ingredients across markets.