Evogene, a leading biotechnology company developing novel products for life science markets, and Instituto Mato-grossense do Algodão (IMAmt), a leading developer and marketer of cotton seeds, have joined hands to work together in the field of insect resistance traits in cotton, primarily focusing on the Cotton Boll Weevil but also on the Fall Armyworm.
The two have signed a research and validation agreement in this connection.
Evogene will identify genes predicted to be effective against Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm, and IMAmt will validate the candidate toxins in cotton. Following successful validation, the two intend to enter negotiations for a commercial license agreement.
Cotton is among the most significant commodity crops. Farm gate value of global cotton production is estimated at $30 billion, with Brazil being the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world. Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm are among the most devastating pests threatening the viability of the cotton industry. It is estimated that the Cotton Boll Weevil inflicts annual costs of $468 million in Brazil alone, due to insecticide procurement and crop losses, with this pest seriously affecting all territories in which cotton is grown. Moreover, with insecticides being only marginally effective, this pest has made entire geographies inaccessible for cotton cultivation. Fall Armyworm can cause significant damage to crops including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton.
As part of the agreement, Evogene will screen its extensive, already tested insecticidal gene data base and select genes with predicted activity against Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm. Following the identification of such genes IMAmt will validate these genes in lab assays directly against the target pests. Evogene will receive research and development funding for the initial discovery phase.
Alvaro Lourenco Ortolan Salles, IMAmt director, said: “When visiting Evogene, we saw great potential for a collaboration between our two companies. We observed the efficiency in the delivery of their work already on the first experience we had. We are confident that together we will be able to respond to the various challenges that tropical agriculture imposes on us.”
Dr. Arnon Heyman, VP Evogene and GM of Ag-Seeds division, said: “We are happy to announce this agreement with IMAmt, the largest cotton growers association in Brazil. With the advancement of selected toxins, originating from our insecticidal gene database to Phase I development, as previously announced, we find increased interest in this unique database that could be leveraged for targeting additional insects, such as the Cotton Boll Weevil which has been devastating for the cultivation of cotton in South America and elsewhere.” (SV)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India