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GreenLight partners with Fraunhofer IME

March 29, 2021

Partnership to study use of RNA to protect crops, protect bees and support biodiversity in new collaboration between famed German applied research institute and GreenLight.

GreenLight Biosciences will work with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME to research new and promising RNA-based advances for environmentally-friendly food production for a growing global population.

While crop protection uses a different type of RNA from Covid vaccines, GreenLight’s proprietary platform allows for the large scale production of RNA for human health, animal health and plant health. The collaboration with Fraunhofer IME aims to help GreenLight Biosciences create advances that protect crops around the world while ensuring biodiversity.

Fraunhofer IME will provide access to scientific experts and state-of-the art laboratory resources to boost GreenLight Biosciences’ research and development capabilities. Founded in 1949 to advance commercial application of basic science, Fraunhofer is known for a wide range of innovations with global impact, ranging from the MP3 standard for music compression to solar panels of world record breaking efficiency.

GreenLight Biosciences is developing new crop protections that draw on scientific advances underpinning large scale production of RNA covid vaccines. These solutions will enable farmers to grow crops without harming beneficial insects like bees, while being safe for people, soil and water. RNA-based products only target the insect that they are designed to control and break down rapidly.

This collaborative effort will focus on identifying new sustainable RNA alternatives to petroleum-based chemical pesticides. Among the first products to be trialled will be GreenLight’s RNA solution to protect potatoes from the Colorado Potato Beetle.

Fraunhofer IME offers advanced biological assays and bioinformatic tools that can be used to quickly identify pest targets, develop new bioactive molecules, and validate their efficacy on crops. The research will be conducted in Giessen, Germany. 

“RNA biologics is an exciting field that holds great potential for allowing farmers to deliver sustainable, environmentally-safe products to give consumers the cleaner, greener products they demand,” said Prof. Dr. Andreas Vilcinskas, who heads the branch for bioresources at Fraunhofer IME. “We are teaming up with GreenLight Biosciences to help the world gain greater food security with more sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture.” 

“Finding ways to farm without harming bees and without damaging biodiversity is one of humanity’s biggest challenges,” said Dr. Andrey Zarur, CEO of GreenLight Biosciences. “To tackle this we are joining forces with one of the world’s most experienced research institutes in a country long-dedicated to sustainable agriculture.”

About the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME

The Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, with over 400 employees at its four sites in Schmallenberg, Aachen, Giessen and Münster, conducts research in the field of applied life sciences from a molecular level to entire ecosystems, in the areas of pharmacy, medicine, chemistry, agriculture, as well as environmental and consumer protection. Our mission is the development and use of advanced technologies for the protection of crop plants and food sources. For more information, visit: https://www.ime.fraunhofer.de/en.html