November 25, 2011
DuPont, Evogene to develop rust-resistant soy seeds
The DuPont Co., together with Evogene will develop soy seeds with improved ability to resist a disease that weakens more than US$1 billion worth of productivity from the nation's farmlands.
DuPont and Evogene Ltd. will collaborate to improve resistance to soy rust, one of the most devastating fungal diseases in soy. DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred unit and Evogene will join to engineer soy varieties better able to resist soy rust.
Soy rust is a severe fungal disease, which causes yield losses of up to 80% of a planted field. Rust causes an estimated loss of US$1.5 billion annually
Soy is one of the world's most important crops, supplying protein for human and animal consumption and feedstock for oil production. It is planted widely in Delaware.
Evogene will use its genomic technology to identify novel genes predicted to improve soy rust resistance. Pioneer will use its technologies to evaluate the genes in transgenic soy. Evogene potentially will earn milestone payments and royalties based on any products that result.
"Strong disease resistance has been a cornerstone to the growth of our Pioneer soy business," John Bedbrook, vice president, DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology, said in a statement released this week.
Pioneer and Evogene have received preliminary approval for partial funding of the project from the BIRD Foundation, a foundation funded by the Israeli and American governments to spur cooperation between Israeli and American companies.