A Japanese startup has found that Nicotiana benthamiana (Tobacco) can be grafted with virtually any vascular plant (patented). This finding allows not only conventional same family grafting but also allows grafting among different family combinations. Moreover, this technology enables the delivery of many kinds of molecules such as DNA/RNA, peptides, as well as biotechnological tools, to the host plant through N. benthamiana as an injector (patented).
These novel functions of N. benthamiana could usher in a new era of breeding including:
- More variety of grafting combinations to escape stresses (disease, salt, draught, etc) surrounding root system,
- Wider variety of graft-chimera,
- Reduction of breeding cost/time,
- Introduce genome-editing with high efficiency
In addition, the startup had also invented a grafting cassette which allows for twice as much throughput as conventional grafting. This technology enables a high success rate while reducing the need for skilled workers with grafting techniques.
The novel grafting technology can provide the following:
- iPAG: Tobacco plants allow the inter-family grafting among any species of plants (patented). The inter-family grafted plants can transfer small molecules between stock and scion through a tobacco plant.
- iPN: Applied iPAG enables the injection of small molecules/components (DNA/RNA, peptides, biotechnological tools) via a tobacco scion and it makes trait improvement quick, easy and reliable (patented).
- Grafting Cassette: Provides both high throughput- and accuracy-grafting without skilled workers. Also, the combination of this cassette and the automatic grafting machine makes grafting 8 times faster than conventional ones.
The novel grafting technology can be applied for:
- New approaches to create crops and vegetables with novel traits
- Infer-family grafting to create new trait
- Molecules delivery (RNA, DNA, Peptides, etc.)
- Non-GMO plants breeding using iPAG/genome editing
- Increase R&D cycle for breeding
- High quality of grafted nursery plants
- High throughput grafting platform
These technologies will be essential to agriculture and technology companies as they have the potential to replace conventional plant breeding methods, opening up a new market in agriculture business worth over $45 billion worldwide.