Evogene and Bayer CropScience reach wheat genomics milestone

Evogene CEO Ofer Haviv: Our discovery expands our understanding of the wheat genome for the development of improved wheat varieties.

Evogene Ltd. (TASE:EVGN) today announced that it has reached an important milestone in its research collaboration with Bayer CropScience AG to develop improved varieties of wheat through the application of advanced breeding techniques. They used Evogene's proprietary tools to identify more than 200,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the wheat genome. SNPs are single-nucleotide substitutions of one base in the genome and a powerful type of molecular marker for trait improvement.

The companies signed the research collaboration agreement in December 2010. Bayer CropScience undertook to provide $20 million in financing over five years for the project. The companies aim to improve wheat yield, drought tolerance and fertilizer use efficiency by modifying the wheat genes.

Evogene president and CEO Ofer Haviv said, "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."

Bayer CropScience head of the BioScience business group Mathias Kremer said, "We want to improve wheat to tackle issues like climate change and the decline of mineral resources used for fertilizer."

Evogene's share price rose 2.4% by mid-afternoon to NIS 14.75, giving a market cap of NIS 527 million.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 27, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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