Yield10 pursues value-chain collaborations for launch of camelina line
Yield10 Bioscience Inc. announced an update March 3 on its camelina line E3902 development program for the purpose of producing low carbon feedstock oil for the renewable diesel market in the U.S. and Canada.
In 2022, the company plans to continue expanding the line’s seed scale-up activities, and to advance field testing of multiple herbicide-tolerant lines progressing in its pipeline. Yield10 Bioscience is also pursuing value-chain collaborations to support the commercial launch of camelina to supply oil for the renewable diesel market.
The E3902 line has shown a consistent 5 percent increase in seed oil content as a percentage of seed weight over control plants. In conjunction with developing yield and oil content traits for camelina, Yield10 Bioscience is also deploying herbicide tolerance gene traits with a long history of safe use in North America to protect camelina from weeds and build grower confidence in the crop. In 2021, Yield10 Bioscience began a program to introduce herbicide tolerance traits into camelina, with initial herbicide-tolerant plants now having been produced for field testing.
“We are focused on leveraging the very promising attributes of our camelina line E3902 to produce low carbon feedstock oil for the renewable diesel market,” said Kristi Snell, chief science officer of Yield10 Bioscience. “Camelina is an ideal crop for the large-scale production of feedstocks for renewable diesel. We are developing camelina line E3902 as a spring variety as well as developing two winter varieties to enable production of low-carbon feedstock oil year-round in the U.S. and Canada.”
Darren Greenfield, senior director of seed operations, said, “We are establishing a seed scale-up program in 2022 that is intended to utilize experienced growers in the U.S. and Canada. Growers are interested in camelina and determining how this crop could fit into their rotations. We look forward to working with growers to produce seed and oil from camelina line E3902, as well as our winter camelina lines. Building on this experience, we will be positioned to introduce herbicide-tolerant camelina to a broad range of growers to enable access to acres on a large scale.”
Yield10 researchers produced line E3902 using CRISPR genome editing to modify three genes involved in oil biosynthesis and oil turnover in camelina. USDA-APHIS’s Biotechnology Regulatory Services has confirmed that E3902 does not meet the definition of a regulated article under 7 CFR Part 340 regulations. In addition, the Argentine Biosafety Commission has determined that E3902 is similar to conventionally bred camelina varieties, and thus is not regulated under the biotechnology resolution No. 763/11 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in Argentina. Pending the issuance of new regulatory guidance concerning CRIPSR genome-edited crops, Yield10 will seek similar nonregulated status confirmation for E3902 from Canadian regulators in 2022.
In 2021 Yield10 Bioscience conducted field tests in the U.S. to evaluate the performance and agronomics of camelina line E3902. The line has shown a consistent 5 percent increase in seed oil content as a percentage of seed weight over control plants. Furthermore, field tests conducted in diverse geographies in 2021 also show that the background camelina germplasm for the E3902 trait is among the top performers of those tested by Yield10 Bioscience. Contra-season, or off season, E3902 seed scale-up is currently underway. Seed from Yield10 Bioscience’s scale-up activity is intended to enable planting at larger scale with growers, as well as to provide oil for sampling, a key step for market development.