On-Demand Breeding

Jan 28th, 2023

For Client: Sound Agriculture

Selective breeding of crop plants for desirable traits such as frost or drought resistance, or flavor and nutritional profile, can take as many as ten growing seasons, as cultivars are crossed to zero in on the desired strain. Sound Agriculture has developed On-Demand Breeding, a method of soaking germinating seeds in transcription factors that trigger specific gene expression profiles within the seed. The genes are already present in the plant, but these transcription factors cause epigenetic changes that alter how those genes are expressed. With only a few germination cycles, the desired traits can be augmented in months rather than years, allowing revolutionary control of how crops can be modified, all without genetic engineering.

Typically, agricultural stories don’t have such deep roots in molecular biology, and their audiences aren’t used to the same level of scientific depth as other biotech and pharmaceutical animations. To tell this story, the Microverse Studios team had to simultaneously accurately portray the science of epigenetics, while emphasizing the specific effects the process could achieve. Elements of light and heat were utilized to create a perception of activity and a sense of magic, while live footage was interspersed to tether the message to the human story.

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