ST. LOUIS & EVANSTON, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Monsanto Company and charitable organization 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have formed a new collaboration to discover novel sources of genetic resistance to Asian soybean rust (ASR). 2Blades will deliver resistance genes in further collaboration with The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL, Norwich, UK), the leading global institute for research on plant-pathogen interactions, and the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), a leading university in agricultural sciences in Brazil.
Asian soybean rust, a disease caused by the fungus Phakopsora pachyrhizi, results in yellowing and browning of soybean leaves and can lead to premature senesence and significant yield loss. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), P. pachyrhizi has spread rapidly and causes yield losses from 10 to 80% in Argentina, Asia, Brazil, Paraguay, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.1
“Asian soybean rust is an ugly and expensive disease that can devastate farmers’ harvests,” said Jeremy Williams, Monsanto’s biotechnology and ag productivity innovation lead. “Current fungicide treatments can provide some control, but farmers need more tools – and the 2Blades research could help provide a durable solution as part of an integrated pest-management system.”
2Blades’ mission is to contribute to global food security by developing crops with long-lasting resistance to pathogens in order to reduce losses due to disease. By working with world-leading plant scientists, 2Blades seeks to discover new sources of disease resistance in nature and transfer them into important crops to extend the breadth of their immune system and secure yields.
“Collaboration with industry is vital to ensure that new discoveries made in the lab can lead to innovations that will prevent crop losses caused by plant disease,” said Dr. Peter van Esse, leader of the 2Blades Research Group at TSL. “It is therefore exciting to see that our scientific expertise and knowledge on plant-microbe interactions will be combined with Monsanto’s capacity to deliver solutions to farmers to tackle a key challenge in soybean cultivation.”
“The management of soybean rust requires the integration of different approaches, including disease resistance. This collaboration will allow us to use cutting-edge technologies to speed up the identification of new resistance genes that can be used to deliver more sustainable solutions to soybean farmers, reducing the environmental and economic impact of ASR,” said Prof. Sérgio H. Brommonschenkel at UFV.
In January 2017, Monsanto, 2Blades and The Sainsbury Laboratory announced a collaboration focused on tackling corn disease complexes such as stalk and ear rots that have the potential to significantly reduce yield. That research is ongoing and is independent of this new collaboration.
The ASR collaboration complements Monsanto’s work to expand the global crop protection toolbox while enabling farmers to produce more with less of an impact on the environment. 2Blades retains rights to deploy new leads arising from the program in crops for smallholder farmers in the least developed countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Soybean is a crop of significant and increasing importance in Africa, with extraordinary nutritional, soil, and economic benefits. However, the presence of ASR throughout the African continent is a major factor limiting production.
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto is committed to bringing a broad range of solutions to help nourish our growing world. We produce seeds for fruits, vegetables and key crops – such as corn, soybeans, and cotton – that help farmers have better harvests while using water and other important resources more efficiently. We work to find sustainable solutions for soil health, help farmers use data to improve farming practices and conserve natural resources, and provide crop protection products to minimize damage from pests and disease. Through programs and partnerships, we collaborate with farmers, researchers, nonprofit organizations, universities and others to help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. To learn more about Monsanto, our commitments and our more than 20,000 dedicated employees, please visit: discover.monsanto.com and monsanto.com. Follow our business on Twitter® at twitter.com/MonsantoCo, on the company blog, Beyond the Rows® at monsantoblog.com or subscribe to our News Release RSS Feed.
About 2Blades Foundation
The 2Blades Foundation, based in Evanston, Illinois, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the discovery, advancement, and delivery of durable disease resistance in crops. 2Blades establishes and manages development programs addressing significant unsolved crop disease problems in collaboration with leading research institutions around the world and at the 2Blades Group in The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK. 2Blades manages a portfolio of specific traits and enabling technologies that it implements in its own programs and out-licenses for broad use. Visit the 2Blades website at www.2blades.org and follow 2Blades on twitter at @2blades.
About The Sainsbury Laboratory
The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) is a world-leading research centre focusing on making fundamental discoveries about plants and how they interact with microbes. TSL not only provides fundamental biological insights into plant-pathogen interactions, but is also delivering novel, genomics-based, solutions which will significantly reduce losses from major diseases of food crops, especially in developing countries. TSL is an independent charitable company and receives strategic funding from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation with the balance coming from competitive grants and contracts from a range of public and private bodies, including the European Union (EU), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and commercial and charitable organisations www.tsl.ac.uk.
About The Federal University of Viçosa
The Federal University of Viçosa (UFV; Portuguese: Universidade Federal de Viçosa) is a Federal University with the main campus located in the city of Viçosa, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. UFV offers 47 different undergrad courses in many areas, including engineering, agronomy, medicine, veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, and other areas related to science. The university has a highly reputed Graduate School as well, offering 36 Master's degree programs and 24 for at PhD level. It is considered one of the best universities in Brazil, and in the General Index of Institution Courses (IGC) made by the Ministry of Education in 2009 was elected the 2nd best in Brazil and the 1st in the state of Minas Gerais
Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Information:
Certain statements contained in this release are “forward-looking statements,” such as statements concerning the company’s anticipated financial results, current and future product performance, regulatory approvals, business and financial plans and other non-historical facts, as well as the pending transaction with Bayer Aktiengesellschaft (“Bayer”). These statements are based on current expectations and currently available information. However, since these statements are based on factors that involve risks and uncertainties, the company’s actual performance and results may differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, among others: risks related to the pending transaction between the company and Bayer, including the risk that the regulatory approvals required for the transaction may not be obtained on the anticipated terms or time frame or at all, the risk that the other conditions to the completion of the transaction may not be satisfied, the risk that disruptions or uncertainties related to the pending transaction could adversely affect the company’s business, financial performance and/or relationships with third parties, and the risk that certain contractual restrictions during the pendency of the transaction could adversely affect the company’s ability to pursue business opportunities or strategic transactions; continued competition in seeds, traits and agricultural chemicals; the company's exposure to various contingencies, including those related to intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance and the speed with which approvals are received, and public understanding and acceptance of our biotechnology and other agricultural products; the success of the company's research and development activities; the outcomes of major lawsuits, including potential litigation related to the pending transaction with Bayer; developments related to foreign currencies and economies; fluctuations in commodity prices; compliance with regulations affecting our manufacturing; the accuracy of the company's estimates related to distribution inventory levels; the levels of indebtedness, continued availability of capital and financing and rating agency actions; the company's ability to fund its short-term financing needs and to obtain payment for the products that it sells; the effect of weather conditions, natural disasters, accidents, and security breaches, including cybersecurity incidents, on the agriculture business or the company's facilities; and other risks and factors detailed in the company's most recent periodic report to the SEC. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which are current only as of the date of this release. The company disclaims any current intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements or any of the factors that may affect actual results.