November 24, 2011


India's soy farmers may acquire rust resistant seed variety


A new variety of genetically modified seeds which are rust resistant may be acquired by Indian soy farmers in near term.


The new variety of seeds is to be developed by DuPont and Evogene Ltd and both the companies has signed a multiyear agreement for the purpose. Under the agreement DuPont business Pioneer Hi Bred and Evogene will collaborate to develop soy varieties displaying in plant resistance to rust. Development of new rust resistant soy varieties would help growers protect harvestable yield against rust ultimately improving productivity of agriculture. Soy rust is a severe fungal disease which causes significant yield losses that can reach up to 80% of the affected field. It is estimated that the yield losses caused by soy rust exceed US$1.5 billion annually.


DuPont and Evogene will jointly generate a genomic database tailored to soy rust resistance. Evogene will utilize its computational genomic technology the ATHLETE & trade to identify novel genes predicted to improve soy rust resistance. Pioneer will use proprietary technologies to evaluate the genes in transgenic soy and may advance leads for further development and commercialization. Evogene will be entitled to receive milestone payments and royalties based on the sales of resulting products.


Strong disease resistance has been a cornerstone to the growth of our Pioneer soy business and the unique science from Evogene is going to help us more effectively tackle soy rust, said John Bedbrook vice president DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology. Pioneer and Evogene have received an approval in principle for partial funding of the project from the BIRD Foundation a bi national foundation funded by the Israeli and American governments which supports and encourages cooperation between Israeli and American companies in various areas of technology and provides assistance in locating strategic partners from both countries for developing joint products.


"In addition to our well established and leading position providing novel genes for improving crop yields under normal and abiotic stress conditions such as drought and reduced fertiliser utilisation we are now increasing our efforts with respect to biotic stress conditions where the crops are attacked by insect's fungi and other stresses. Therefore we are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Pioneer one of the world s largest seed businesses and a leading provider of soy seeds to utilise our advanced trait discovery technologies to address the important biotic stress condition of soy rust, said Ofer Haviv Evogene s president and CEO.

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