DURHAM, N.C.  — Agriculture and food company Pairwise is aiming to make berries more available and affordable.

The company said it has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, several research universities and agricultural research company Plant Sciences, Inc., (P.S.I.) to learn more about berry diversity. Scientists and researchers from Pairwise, P.S.I., U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Services, the University of Arkansas, Cornell University and North Carolina State University will collaborate to identify and characterize genetic diversity in blackberries, red raspberries and various wild caneberry species.

With this information, the teams will work on harnessing the natural genetic diversity of both wild and domesticated varieties to improve breading outcomes. The goal of the public-private partnership is to explore how gene editing can be used to produce to new berry varieties that are adapted to meet the growing demand for healthy food options.

“We have invested extensively in our caneberry breeding programs,” said Steve Nelson, chief executive officer at P.S.I. “We are excited to now bring what we’ve learned to this partnership to further drive innovation in the berry category.”

The study will consist of two years of field testing with more than 300 caneberry species. Whole genomes, resequencing and phenotyping data will be shared with the public to enable additional research and accelerate applications for breeding, Pairwise said.