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A $265 million funding round gave biotech startup Ginkgo Bioworks a $1.3 billion valuation, according to data from PitchBook. Ginkgo and chemical giant Bayer recently formed a company with the mission of bringing greater efficiencies to farming and the use of fertilizer.

The Bayer/Ginkgo team wants to turn crops into their own mini-fertilizer manufacturers. A handful of leguminous plants, including peanuts and soybeans, produce nitrogen naturally, and don’t require man-made fertilizer to grow. The plan is to empower other crops to make their own nitrogen by designing a nitrogen-producing microbiome in the lab and coating seeds with the synthetic cells.


Sources: Forbes, 14 September 2017; Wired, 14 September 2017; Recode, 30 November 2017.


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