In the media

a tiny potato beetle perches on a leaf

GreenLight Biosciences features in Science Magazine: Does RNA make the Perfect Pesticide?

“You can …hit the insect you want to kill with precision,” says Subba Reddy Palli, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky, emphasizing the efficacy of RNA-based pest control. Palli adds, “You cannot get anything better than this.” highlighting the unmatched precision and potential of RNA interference (RNAi) technology

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TIME: How the Tech Behind a COVID-19 Vaccine is Helping Save Bees

GreenLight Biosciences feature in TIME for its honey bee protection solution and RNA-based crop protection product pipeline

Technology used to develop Covid-19 vaccines may also help combat varroa mite – pest in honeybee beekeepers have been struggling to control for years.

A new tool is in the pipeline: Boston-based biotechnology company GreenLight Biosciences has developed an anti-mite RNA treatment for beehives that uses a similar technology to Pfizer’s breakout COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn more about GreenLight Biosciences honeybee protection solution here

Still in its infancy, this RNA-based technology heralds a new revolution in preventing disease and staving off pests across the agricultural spectrum, from the botrytis that beards blueberries and grapes with fuzzy gray mold to the Colorado potato beetle and maize-munching fall armyworm that are devastating crops from North America to southern Africa, and even the spider mites that suck sap from common houseplants. RNA manipulation has the potential to become a powerful new tool in the treatment of some of agriculture’s most pernicious pests, says Andrey Zarur, who co-founded GreenLight Biosciences in 2009, with the goal of finding biological solutions to the overuse of chemicals as pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides in the world’s food system. “RNA will be as revolutionary to our food supply as it has already been to human health through the COVID vaccines.”

Learn more about GreenLight Biosciences product pipeline here

Read the full Time article here

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Bloomberg: Honeybees Find Lifeline in Covid Tech

GreenLight Biosciences features in Bloomberg for its use of Covid RNA technology to target parasites partly blamed for the honeybee crisis. Extracts from the article are below:

Technology used to develop Covid-19 vaccines may also help combat a honeybee-killing pest.

GreenLight Biosciences is developing an RNA-based syrup to attack varroa mites, a parasite that attaches itself to honeybees and feeds off them while spreading diseases. The RNA acts as an “off switch” that interferes with the mites, disrupting their ability to lay offspring that attach to bees, said Mark Singleton, chief commercial officer and general manager of plant health at the Boston-based firm.

Read the full article here.

Find out more about how GreenLight Biosciences manufactures RNA.

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Scientific American: Lessons for a Plant Pandemic

GreenLight Biosciences is referred to in Scientific American in its piece asking “What Did COVID Teach Us about Preparing for a Plant Pandemic?”.

GreenLight Biosciences is a part of the effort to address the plant pandemic by tackling diseases and mutations faster than is possible with conventional pesticides or processes. An extract from the article is below:

Establish libraries for rapid screening and optimization: Genetic libraries have been fundamental to synthetic biology innovation because they permit the rapid construction and evaluation of diverse populations of genetic variants. The same framework applies to biofungicides; we can screen thousands to millions of variants to identify and optimize those that selectively interfere with a given pathogen. Once we know that a specific agent can disrupt a disease, we can develop the means to deliver the solution, whether it’s through an engineered microbe (as we are doing at Joyn Bio) or biomolecules like RNA (pursued by GreenLight Biosciences) and proteins (such as Biotalys’ antibody technology).

Read the full article here.

Find out more about how GreenLight manufactures RNA.

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GreenLight’s honeybee-saving RNA solution named finalist in World Changing Ideas Award

BOSTON, May 10, 2022—An RNA-based solution by GreenLight Biosciences designed to protect honeybees from the Varroa destructor mite was named a finalist by Fast Company for its 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards.

This is the first RNA-based solution that directly targets the mites, which have been detected in 90% of U.S. hives and which beekeepers call the primary threat to honeybee colonies today. In field trials, the solution lowers mite levels with strong efficacy compared to a leading chemical pest control.

“The technology at GreenLight, we’re testing it now, and we’ve seen it work,” said Barry Hart, owner of Hart Honey Farms in Georgia. A beekeeper since 1985, Hart said Varroa mites have decimated many of his hives.

GreenLight’s Varroa mite product candidate is currently undergoing tests in several states and is scheduled to be submitted for EPA approval in 2022.

About 3 million commercial honeybee colonies in the United States contribute to pollinating more than 100 crops annually, worth an estimated $15 billion. The Varroa mite reproduces in the same beehive cells as gestating bee larvae, grows up to parasitically feed on honeybees, and while doing so spreads disease, destroying colonies across the globe.

A limited number of chemical treatments are the current weapons in the fight against the Varroa mite. However, the traditional treatments come with side effects that may include bee death. Varroa mites have also developed resistance to several existing traditional chemical pesticides, which also require farmers to wear special protective gear and goggles to apply. GreenLight’s patented RNA technology only requires gloves.

“Crops pollinated by honeybees make up roughly a third of the food eaten by Americans, so declining populations of honeybees could have major consequences for food supply,” said Andrey Zarur, CEO of GreenLight Biosciences. “Our mission is to protect the species safely and effectively, and we are excited by Fast Company’s recognition for our achievements.”

GreenLight and other Fast Company nominees and award winners can be found here.

About GreenLight Biosciences

GreenLight Biosciences aims to address some of the world’s biggest problems by delivering on the full potential of RNA for human health and agriculture. Our RNA platform allows us to research, design, and manufacture for human, animal, and plant health. In human health, this includes messenger RNA vaccines and therapeutics. In agriculture, this includes RNA to protect honeybees and a range of crops. The company’s platform is protected by numerous patents. GreenLight’s human health product candidates are in the pre-clinical stage, and its product candidates for the agriculture market are in the early stages of development or regulatory review. GreenLight is a public benefit corporation that trades under the ticker GRNA on Nasdaq. For more information, visit

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A tractor harvests in a potato field with farmers working alongside it

ACS book chapter details GreenLight’s progress in the development of dsRNA solutions

Agricultural pests are responsible for more than $100 billion in global crop losses each year. Meanwhile, the amount of arable land for farming is shrinking and traditional pesticides currently in the market are losing their efficacy. 

To secure a sustainable food supply for future generations, GreenLight is working on RNA-based agricultural solutions that are designed to affect the target pest and limit harm to any non-targeted organisms. In Crop Protection Products for Sustainable Agriculture, a new American Chemical Society book about crop protection innovation, a GreenLight team, led by Ken Narva and Thais Rodrigues,  shares the science behind sprayable dsRNA as a new mode of action plant health product that has shown efficacy comparable to market standards and fits integrated pest management systems. 

This product is intended for large-acre control of the Colorado potato beetle and has been shown to be effective at extremely low use rates. A challenge to wide-scale use of dsRNA is the cost-effective production of large quantities for field applications, which GreenLight has overcome with its cell-free process to manufacture high-quality dsRNA faster, on a larger scale, and much more inexpensively than traditional methods.

Successful registration of this solution will pave the way for additional dsRNA products for agricultural pest control, providing growers with biological alternatives to synthetic insecticides.

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a fruit covered in mould with a WIRED graphic in front

Wired: The Next Big Thing for RNA


Mark Singleton, Head of Plant and Animal Health at GreenLight Biosciences, speaks to Wired magazine about the potential of RNA to fix moldy food by defending against Botrytis and other pests. Extracts from the article are below:

“It’s the big one,” says Mark Singleton, head of plant and animal health at GreenLight Biosciences, a Massachusetts-based biotech startup working on a new generation of sprays to defend against Botrytis and other pests that bedevil farmers…

GreenLight Biosciences has an RNA spray targeting the Colorado potato beetle that’s currently being evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The company is expecting a decision on that spray by the middle of 2022. It’s also working on a spray for Botrytis, as well as one that combats the Varroa mite, a widespread pest that infects honey bees. After initial laboratory trials, GreenLight is now field testing its Botrytis spray on grapes in California and strawberries in Italy. Singleton says they’re looking to find out how long the spray sticks to plants and how it compares to chemical fungicides.

Read the full article here.

Find out more about how GreenLight manufactures RNA here.

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VP of marketing Catie Lee being interviewed in a Greenlight factory

News10NBC: GreenLight Biosciences opens new RNA facility in Rochester

Local TV station News10NBC reports on the opening of our new RNA production facility in Rochester. An extract is below.

Workers say this plant- has manufactured more RNA than anywhere else on earth and this is a big step for those in manufacturing for human, animal, and plant health.

“GreenLight Biosciences is at the start of something really exciting we’re using RNA to solve some of the world’s biggest problem,” GreenLight Biosciences marketing director Catie Lee said.

Watch the report here.

Find out more about how GreenLight manufactures RNA here.

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Bloomberg: GreenLight Is Mass-Producing RNA to Fight Crop Pests

“The company figured out how to scale production of RNA at low cost, which could change the game for agriculture”

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close up of a bee head with a varroa mite on top

The Economist: RNA for Bees and Crops

By lowering the cost of RNA production and so allowing much more of it to be used, Mr Zarur thinks he can deliver more RNA to the mites, succeeding where Bayer and others did not…

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