Genetically modified (GM) crops are expensive to develop and despite a gaping lack of evidence that genetically engineered crops have compromise food safety consumers continue to show marked resistance to purchasing them. In addition, political and public opposition to lab-altered crops remains strong amid fears that they could harm local biodiversity.
In the face of consumer resistance and heightened government regulations, many seed producers are reconsidering their applications for regulatory approval of the next generation of GM crops; leaving many farmers especially those in emerging economies with fewer options to increase yields at a time when weather patterns are becoming less predictable, and cultivable land is already shrinking.
Botanica Exotica uses good, old-fashioned crossbreeding to develop new crop strains: the same technology that farmers have been using for millennia to optimize their crops.
But that does not mean these plants are low tech.
We use an advanced laboratory technique called "genetic marking" to read and understand the genomes of individual plant seedlings; then before growing these young plants to maturation we apply predictive computer models to select crossbreeding pairs in successive generations that would most likely yield progeny with our desired traits.
In nature, the odds of randomly stacking 20 different desirable traits into a single plant are extremely low about one in 2 trillion and it can take a millennium to create. Genetic marking drives this effort to yield strains with desired characteristics more efficiently; in fewer generations.
And this all happens without any genetic engineering; no one inserts a single foreign gene into a plant's genome. These crops may be born in a lab, but technically they arise every bit as naturally as those one finds at a local farmers' market.