Pairwise works on pitless cherries

North Carolina start-up uses CRISPR to change produce DNA

Small North Carolina start-up Pairwise is tapping into the CRISPR gene-editing technology to change the DNA of produce by removing (i.e.) the bitterness from a nutrient-dense green, the seeds from the outside of a blackberry or the pit in a cherry.

For Pairwise, the thinking is by removing these hurdles consumers would be more likely to eat the food. If the greens taste better, people would be be more likely to eat more salad, getting additional calcium, vitamins and fiber. Produce that was once awkward to eat in public, like a cherry, becomes a more enticing option. And children may be more likely to embrace a seedless berry in their school lunchbox.  

"We think if the produce department had more innovation, it would certainly spark some more interest" in fruits and vegetables, said Heather Hudson, head of collaboration, at Pairwise. Hudson, oversees vegetables at Pairwise. She stated that the company is optimistic it can bring its first leafy green to market as early as 2022 due to the fact greens grow more quickly.

According to, Pairwise is taking a different tack, vowing to share how its food is grown, how it is made and what genes are influenced to create the desired outcome.

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