August 8, 2008


Pioneer makes inroads developing pest and disease resistant soy

DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred reports it has identified and incorporated molecular markers into its soy research programme which would help the company develop soy resistant to three common destructive soy pests - Asian soy rust, soy aphids and frogeye leaf spot.


The new varieties could help boost soy yields 40 percent over the next 10 years, according to William S. Niebur, vice-president, DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development.


If left untreated, Asian soy rust, soy aphids and frogeye leaf spot can cause significant damage and yield loss to soys.


Pioneer plans to commercialize soy varieties carrying multiple sources of Asian soy rust resistance by 2012 in Brazil and by 2013 in the US.


Asian soy rust must currently be controlled with fungicide.


The company also plans to commercialize soy varieties with frogeye leaf spot resistance by 2011 in North America. Frogeye leaf spot can cause up to a 15 percent yield loss.


Soy resistant to aphids would also be introduced in 2011. Aphids can destroy entire soy crops. Using such varieties would help reduce the need for aphid insecticide.


The markers are non-transgenic and are not subject to additional regulatory approvals, the company said.


Pioneer is seeking patent protection on resulting improved soy varieties, as well as the tools and techniques used to develop them.


Pioneer is also pursuing transgenic modes of resistance.

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