In a pioneering initiative in Australia, a state enterprise has initiated a comprehensive trial of gene-edited wheat, promising an enhancement in productivity by up to 10%. This new type of wheat is grown through a cutting-edge technique known as gene editing, which allows the alteration of the plant’s genetic material without introducing any foreign DNA, making it distinct from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The proponents of this technology advocate its ability to produce crops that are more nutritious and robust, requiring fewer resources such as water, fertilizers, and chemicals. Unlike GMOs, which have stirred controversy and regulatory scrutiny, gene editing is perceived by many regulators and scientists as safer and akin to conventional breeding methods. This approach also facilitates multiple genetic alterations simultaneously, offering a broader spectrum of enhancements.

InterGrain, an Australian seed breeding company, has brought in several thousand wheat seeds from Inari, a U.S. agritech firm, to test their potential in enhancing yield and sustainability. These seeds, which include hundreds of novel genetic variations, are currently being cultivated in a greenhouse in southeast Queensland. The successful growth of these plants will lead to further trials across over 45 sites nationwide in the 2025 growing season, aiming to verify the optimal genetic combinations for maximum yield improvement. According to InterGrain’s chief executive, this endeavor is not only about achieving a significant boost in yield but also about addressing pressing global challenges such as food security, climate change, and agricultural profitability. The integration of advanced tools like artificial intelligence and CRISPR-Cas in gene editing could expedite these developments, potentially revolutionizing traditional plant breeding and offering a sustainable solution to meet the increasing global food demand.