Podcast Episode 59: Gene-editing to make plants tastier and healthier


Jim B.


Imagine one day eating Doritos, Cheetos, or your favorite chips or candy bar and being guilt-free from sugar, fat, and the other not so healthy aspects of junk food.  Thanks to gene editing and food science, that future might not be too far off.  Our guest today is Jim Blome, CEO of Calyxt.  Calyxt is a plant-based technology company that is working on developing plants to not only be healthier for consumers, but also healthier for the planet.  Through gene-editing, scientists at Calyxt are able to create plants with healthier oil levels, completely remove trans fats, and create crops with higher yields.  In our interview today, Jim will explain the work going on at Calyxt, how gene-editing differs from genetic modification (GMOs), where their technology fits in with the organic vs traditional agriculture debate, and how they are able to remove unhealthy fats from foods.

If you’re curious to learn more about plant breeding and gene editing, check out the For More Information Link below to visit the BBC’s page on the topic.


Listen to the episode on the apps below:

itunes  spotify  1200x630wa  Untitled design (2)  Untitled design (1)  red-sushi-logo.png

Check out Calyxt at the links below:


Show Notes:

  • Jim’s background and start with Calyxt
  • Calyxt gene-editing technology
  • Gene editing vs Genetic Modification (GMOs)
  • Speeding up plant breeding
  • How Calyxt can help agriculture be more sustainable
  • Growing better feed for cows
  • Healthy oils
  • How Calyxt works with USDA and FDA to ensure these items are safe for consumers
  • Where gene-editing fits in with organic vs traditional agriculture
  • Covid-19’s effect on Calyxt
  • Jim’s thoughts on the farmer consumer relationship


What I learned from this episode:

  • Gene editing and genetic modification are similar but also very different.  Gene editing only allows editing with genes of that species, so no foreign DNA is brought into that cell.
  • Scientists can create healthier versions of the products we are currently eating.  We can add fiber, oils, etc, to products we already enjoy.  Maybe one day we can eat a super healthy version of Chetto’s?  One can only hope!


For more information on Selective Breeding, click the link below!

BBC: Selective Breeding and Gene Technology

At the above link, learn how we created broccoli, cabbage, and kale from wild mustard!

Call to Action:

I hope you are enjoying these interviews as well as learning a thing or two about food production and the agriculture industry.  If you think a friend or family member might enjoy the podcast, consider sharing it with them!  Simply sharing the website, http://www.thefarmtraveler.com, or telling them to search “Farm Traveler” on their favorite podcasting app, are great ways they can listen and stay up to date on episodes.




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