Syngenta to collaborate on soybean nematode resistance

Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. has announced it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Evogene, Ltd., focusing on identifying plant genes related to soybean nematode resistance. Under the agreement, Syngenta will receive exclusive licensing rights to candidate genes discovered by Evogene for use in soybeans.

Soybean nematode is a soil parasite which attacks the roots of developing plants, and is one of the most devastating and yield limiting pests of soybeans. Soybean growers may lose more than 20 percent of their yield to this pest, while defenses against it are limited. It is estimated that soybean nematode causes losses in the United States alone exceeding one billion dollars annually. “Syngenta is a leader in advanced breeding to bring our grower customers the best choices to protect yield against soybean pests,” stated Roger Kemble, Head Syngenta Crop Genetics Research. “This collaboration complements our in-house trait discovery program, creating new sources of genes for biotech traits to strengthen our current offering.”

Under this agreement, Evogene will provide Syngenta with candidate genes discovered by Evogene’s proprietary computational gene discovery technology, the 'ATHLETE'. Syngenta will evaluate candidate genes in its soybean research and development program. Syngenta may commercialize improved soybean seeds developed through this collaboration.

“We are very pleased by this collaboration with Syngenta and we look forward to working with the Syngenta team on this key trait for soybean,” stated Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO. “Plant pest protection traits, such as nematode resistance, have a strong impact on farm productivity hence Evogene intends to expand use of its predictive technologies for gene discovery in this field," Haviv concluded.

Specific details of the agreement were not disclosed.

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