ST. LOUIS – Monsanto Co. announced it was pledging financial support and sharing important genetic information with the newly established soybean industry Qualisoy initiative. The announcement is intended to provide a major boost for the soybean-focused compositional improvement initiative.

The Qualisoy Board is an industry coalition focused on compositional improvements in U.S. soybeans. The initiative will serve as an innovative platform for increasing U.S. soybean competitiveness through development, commercialization and promotion of enhanced quality traits.

As part of the announcement, Monsanto leaders said the company has pledged a total of $8.4 million to the Qualisoy initiative during the 2004 through 2006 period. The grant will be earmarked for communication and on-going support of soybean research.

In addition, Monsanto, together with its research collaborator Ceres, will share important soybean gene sequence data to help jumpstart the initiative. Monsanto and Ceres independently developed this soybean sequencing data. This sequencing data is expected to help better understand the soy plant’s genetic makeup – a critical step in creating an improved crop.

In the years ahead, this data could lead to soybeans with better nutritional value, greater yields, as well as crops with enhanced oil and protein characteristics.

“Monsanto is proud to support the U.S. soybean industry and our nation’s growers in this important initiative,” said Carl Casale, Monsanto’s executive vice president for North America. “We hope this important sequencing data will benefit and strengthen soybean research and on-going breeding efforts, ultimately providing benefits for all soybean growers in the United States.”

Casale noted that the soybean sequencing data would be made available to the Qualisoy initiative through a searchable database of genetic sequencing information for the soybean plant. This approach will allow the information to be used for research supported by the Qualisoy initiative.

As a regional collaborator of plant science research, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is also helping to promote and facilitate the use of this research tool through a digital repository. This project also supports the Center’s investigators engaged in soybean research.

The announcement demonstrates Monsanto and Ceres’ commitment to share knowledge and technology with public institutions to advance science and understanding, and improve agriculture and the environment. Monsanto’s commitment represents another example of the Monsanto Pledge in action. This announcement builds upon prior donation in support of soybean, corn and cotton producers and serves as another example of the company's commitment to bolster innovation in the industry.

Qualisoy originated from a soybean checkoff-funded initiative that invests in research to develop soybean varieties with enhanced compositional traits. The Qualisoy Board unites all levels of the soybean industry to create added value and increased global competitiveness for the U.S. soybean industry through the development, commercialization and promotion of enhanced quality traits.

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