Soybean rust is the focus of a new agreement signed between DuPont and Evogene. DuPont’s business Pioneer Hi-Bred and Evogene will work together to find resistance in soybean varieties to rust. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Rust is one of the most devastating fungus diseases for soybeans and can cause yield loss reaching 80% of an affected field. Annual damage from soybean rust worldwide is estimated at $1.5 billion. As a result, new rust-resistant soybean varieties are greatly needed to protect soybeans from the damaging fungus.

DuPont and Evogene will jointly generate a genomic database tailored to soybean rust resistance. Evogene will use its computational genomic technology, called the Athlete, to identify genes expected to improve soybean rust resistance. Pioneer will use its own technologies to evaluate the genes in transgenic soybeans and may advance the best genes for further development and commercialization. Evogene will be entitled to receive milestone payments and royalties based on the sales of resulting products.

“Unique science from Evogene is going to help us more effectively tackle soybean rust,” reports John Bedbrook, vice president of DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology.

Pioneer and Evogene have received an approval for partial funding of the project from the BIRD Foundation, a binational foundation funded by the Israeli and American governments, which supports and encourages cooperation between Israeli and American companies in various areas of technology.

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 is headquartered in Israel. Visit www.evogene.com.

For more information, visit www.pioneer.com or www.dupont.com