Seed World

Pairwise Secures Nine New USDA Exemptions

Exemptions advance agricultural innovation with CRISPR technology.

Produce innovation company Pairwise announced in a release it has secured nine new regulatory exemptions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA). This development paves the way for the company to fast-track the introduction of unique products into the market.

According to the USDA, the granted exemptions apply to plant edits that could be achieved with traditional breeding methods. These exemptions cover a range of consumer and grower-desired traits, including seedlessness, thornlessness and enhanced yield in blackberries and black raspberries. With these additions, Pairwise’s total exemptions for berry traits rise to 19, contributing to a company-wide total of 21 exemptions achieved within 15 months.

These exemptions underscore the potential of CRISPR and other gene editing technologies to enhance biodiversity and introduce crop varieties with traits essential for ensuring a consistent year-round supply and maximizing yields. In the context of escalating climate change and global disruptions, CRISPR technology emerges as a crucial tool in mitigating the impacts on the global food supply chain.

In the release Dan Jenkins, Pairwise vice president of regulatory and government affairs, emphasized the significance of this milestone. 

“Successfully securing these exemptions speaks to the power of the Pairwise Fulcrum platform and our ability to deliver differentiated products,” he said. “Our expert team at Pairwise uses CRISPR and gene editing techniques to transform plants and the production systems that are built upon them, delivering food and agriculture innovation that could otherwise be achieved through conventional breeding – faster and more effectively. We applaud the USDA for confirming these science-based exemptions, which bolster our ability to deliver progress in specialty and row crops, and better reflect the science of what is possible in conventional plant breeding.”

In its commitment to agricultural innovation, Pairwise has also played a role in mapping the genome and understanding the phenotypic diversity of the Rubus genus. The company’s collaborative efforts with the USDA, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Plant Sciences, Inc., and prominent research universities such as North Carolina State University, Cornell University, and the University of Arkansas were part of a three-year genome-wide association study (GWAS) from 2020 to 2022.

For more information, visit Pairwise’s website at and access the official confirmation letters at