REHOVOT, ISRAEL--(Marketwire - September 26, 2011) -
Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) and Bayer CropScience AG have reached a milestone in their joint research collaboration in wheat. Utilizing Evogene's proprietary tools, more than 200,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms ('SNPs') across the wheat genome were identified as part of the companies' efforts to improve wheat through the application of advanced breeding techniques.
SNPs are single-nucleotide substitutions of one base in the genome and a powerful type of molecular marker for trait improvement. Identifying SNPs across the wheat genome is an essential step towards improving desired traits in wheat through advanced breeding. The wheat genome is both complex and very large -- approximately five times the size of the human genome -- which creates a major challenge for breeders in implementing advanced breeding techniques. The identification of a significant number of SNP markers improves the overall understanding of the wheat genome and therefore facilitates the utilization of this knowledge to deliver desirable improvements in wheat.
In December 2010, Bayer CropScience and Evogene entered into a five-year collaboration, aimed at accelerating the development and introduction of improved wheat varieties. The collaboration is focusing on improving wheat yield, drought tolerance and fertilizer use efficiency utilizing a combination of advanced breeding and state of the art genetic modification methods.
The successful creation of the genome-wide SNP dataset for wheat was enabled by the use of Evogene's proprietary assembly tools and algorithms for highly reliable SNP identification, designed specifically for the wheat genome. Furthermore, the dataset was obtained from a broad collection of wheat lines from multiple locations world-wide. This SNP dataset has significantly boosted the genetic data available for the efforts of the collaboration. This dataset is being integrated into Evogene's EvoBreed technology platform to broaden and accelerate the implementation of advanced breeding approaches for wheat.
"We want to improve wheat to tackle issues like climate change and the decline of mineral resources used for fertilizer," said Mathias Kremer, Head of the BioScience business group of Bayer CropScience. "This research milestone is an important step towards that goal, and will enable Bayer CropScience to deliver improved wheat varieties to growers sooner."
Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President & Chief Executive Officer, stated: "We are very proud of this technological breakthrough, which we achieved in a relatively short period. The identification of the SNPs is a key to enhancing native traits utilizing genomics-guided, efficient and precise breeding tools. Our newly-discovered SNP dataset significantly expands our understanding of the wheat genome, which we anticipate will facilitate our joint work with Bayer CropScience to introduce improved wheat varieties."
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of healthcare, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 6.830 billion (2010), is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 20,700 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at: www.press.bayercropscience.com.
Evogene is a world leading developer of improved plant traits, such as yield and drought tolerance, for a wide diversity of key crops through the use of plant genomics. The company focuses on utilizing its proprietary computational genomic technologies to provide a complete solution for plant trait improvement through combining state of the art biotechnology and advanced breeding methods. These technologies include ATHLETE for gene discovery; Gene2Product for improving trait efficacy and probability of successful development of biotechnology seed products; and EvoBreed for breeding enhancement. Evogene's plant genomics capabilities combine high throughput plant validation systems, field experiments and proprietary genomic data creation. Evogene is collaborating with world leading seed companies to introduce its improved plant traits into key commercial crops under milestone and royalty bearing agreements. Evogene's headquarters are in Rehovot, Israel, and its stock is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: EVGN). For additional information, please visit Evogene's website at www.evogene.com.
This press release contains "forward-looking statements." These statements include words like "may," "expects," "believes," "scheduled" and "intends," and they describe opinions about future events. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Evogene Ltd. to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.