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GeneNeer – Engineering a Safer Future

Engineering a safer future for your crops by providing safe control upon gene expression, activation and silencing using GeneNeer technology

Photo of Kinneret Shefer
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

GeneNeer LTD

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Dr. Kinneret Shefer Expert in RNA structure and function, is GeneNeer’s founder and its patent initiator. Dr. Shefer specialized in RNA dynamics, structure and function, the base of GeneNeer’s patented technology. Dr. Shefer is a social Activist. Professor Oded Shoseyov A faculty member of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot, Israel. Prof. Shoseyov’s research area is plant molecular biology, protein engineering and nano-biotechnology. He is the inventor/co-inventor of 45 patents and received an outstanding number of respectful Awards in the field of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Dr. Samuel Sattath, Director With academic background in Behavioral Economics, Bioinformatics and Molecular Evolution and with business background as founder, R&D manager and chairman, Samuel joined GeneNeer management in 2019. His experience in leading companies from founding to IPO in several exits will benefit GeneNeer as it grows

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 3-10 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Rehovot, Israel

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Israel

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Any type of field e.g. Corn fields in the USA approx. 320,000 km^2

What country is your selected Place located in?

Any location that produces genetic engineered crops e.g. United States of America

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

GeneNeer can integrate in all Places, understanding in depth the needs and local parameters. For the sake of presenting our solution, we selected the United States of America as it represents the largest producer of GE (genetically engineered) crops and hence has the highest impact on our lives, exporting throughout the world produce and by-products of GE agriculture. We are all connected to it on a daily basis and our GeneNeer key and locks are simple solutions to integrate in giant industries without the pretension of re-inventing the wheel.

In addition, our solution is by essence highly targeted to specific genes. A key and lock combination needs to be designed to each gene in a unique way. In any application we must take an initial step of understanding the plant we are trying to help, where it is growing in and therefore connect with the field's story.

Places are important for GeneNeer as we strive to provide plants a genetic lock to make sure they remain safe within their defined surrounding. By developing a line of products that limit the spread of a GE plant to its surrounding field, we not only protect our Place but all the neighboring Places and enforce field borders and health. In turn, controlling the expression and limiting the spread of GE plants prevents short- and long- term damage to the environment.

GE are essential to a sustainable future for food. We, GeneNeer, want to help the innovators in GE to ensure a highly target, specific and limited expression of useful genes. Our solution accompanies GE in maintaining the harmonious and beneficial symbioses on one side and preventing any risk of transgenic spread or even, in the long term development of multi-resistant threats.  


Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

GeneNeer's technology applies to the whole spectrum of agriculture from the largest multinational food conglomerate down to the local producer through golf courses and football courses.

Since our solution applies to all agricultural system we will give two examples we feel illustrate well the high impact GeneNeer can have on re-building or reinforcing the bonds between People and Places.

Local farmers and small productions are considered as the first to suffer directly from climate change. Rising temperatures and high variations in yearly rain levels combined with the appearance of new and resistant pests destroy more and more family run farms. GeneNeer's key and locks are designed for specific genes and we aim to work with the individual plant to tailor to the exact needs of the plant and nothing more. We aim to accompany the farmer to understand safer, more stable and highly controllable genetic modifications of plants to ensure the survival of centuries worth of local agriculture.

Pesticides and pesticidal transgenic plants may be part of the cause  for the massive extinction of bees in multiple regions. In particular in regions were pesticide regulations are loosened. Bees are quintessential to the fertilization of crops and the wellbeing of a People. Without bees, a Place has no resources for People. With GeneNeer we aim not only to enforce transgenic mutation to apply only to harmful pest but also to activate expression of fighting gene only when the crop is under attack.

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Current and future challenges in the food industry resonate throughout the six themes on all levels from macro issues to those tackles specifically by GeneNeer's solution.

On the global picture the wide gap between the distribution of population versus that of agricultural resources (water, sun, soil etc.) is a driving force for economies of scale and the introduction of specialized, high-volume regions for specific crops combined with improved conservation, transformation and transportation of food. Currently we produce enough food on a daily basis to feed the planet but we are not able to allocate these resources efficiently. Looking forward, the demographic disparities require an optimization of healthy and durable better crops and distribution change.

The pressing climate crisis and the changes in environmental conditions call for a high level of control on fields and plant production. Genetic Engineering (GE) is a key for a stable and large scale production of food. The reinforcement of a worldwide regulation and measures of control and best practices in the industry is a growing challenge.

Often, mass agriculture is perceived as a threat to local and small scale productions - often jeopardizing centuries of unique agricultural practices and knowledge. The latter cultural element is also threatened by growing climate changes were increase in temperatures and changes in rain levels affect traditional techniques.

The past years have also seen debates on growing concerns in the economic profile of the industry with giant groups setting their rules on the implementation of novel technology for further sustainable optimization of crops.

With little control on the spread of roots and seeds, transgenic plants present a risk in the long run of growing further from their initial planting site.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

GeneNeer's key & lock combinations provide tools for regulatory practices in genetic engineering. It enforces both high level of control but also better transparency on to gene editing. We wish to work in collaboration with lawmakers, regulators and industrial to put our technology to the service of all. We aim to enforce the confinement of GE plants to desired and highly defined areas.

GeneNeer's technology integrates ready-existing economies-of-scale simply by providing a tailored technological addition to make their products safer and more respectful of nature. Our technology not only integrates with existing GE methods but also presents an opportunity to protect IP with enhanced control on the expression of desired gene on-demand.

Our technology is agnostic to produce as we can integrate and personalize to any applications. In this sense we are also prone to help local producers preserve their cultural identity and centuries of tradition by making GE more accessible, understandable and safe for all.

Working at a regulatory level, we will suggest incentivizing the implementation of our key & lock technology to small scale locale producers. This will be developed through clear educational tools, fully transparent understanding of our technology and a toolkit of use when the technology is implemented. Finally, we believe our lock-and-key system is a regulatory must and should be implemented on the long run as a requirement for the use of genetic engineering on plants. The implementation of such a tool will occur by working in conjunction with governments, industrial, independent certifications (e.g. B Corp) as a well as Insurance companies.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

With GeneNeer keys in hands, farmers will be able to respond swiftly to threats on their field all the while knowing that they can work safely next to their neighbors.

Scientists will be able to provide safe solutions rapidly implemented in the field by ensuring a high level of control on the impact of their genetic modifications.

Standards across the food supply chains will be better understood by all the actors.

End users will enjoy better quality food with a higher level of optimization possible at the plant level.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?


For 2050 we see GeneNeer working with all actors of the food ecosystem with the desire of optimizing the plants they use with Genetic Engineering.

All Genetically Modified Organism will receive an ID reference with an initial simple but mandatory analysis. The ID reference will be made available on a secure platform to access information of risk evaluation, mitigating steps, level of control and overall environmental impact score.

This information can be stored in computational systems such as secure block chains at either a company level or a governmental level for regulatory purposes.

Plants will be able to respond on-demand to threats only when under attack and only reach target.

Positive actors of ecosystems (bees, flies, spiders etc.) will not be affected and regions will cease to be sterilized.

Farmers will work and understand their field without worrying about transgenic spread to and from ones field.

 

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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