24.04.2013 - Bayer Crop Science has entered a multi-year R&D partnership with Keygene to improve traits in crops.
The German and the Dutch company announced that the scope of their first research programme is wheat, potentially to be followed by projects in oilseed rape, rice and cotton. In the collaboration, Bayer will access KeyGene’s KeySeeQ® discovery pipeline. The platform technology will be used to identify genes associated with novel traits such as drought tolerance. The genes will be then improved by KeyGene using its automated high throughput targeted mutagenesis tool KeyPoint®. Bayer will be responsible for global market introduction of the resulting new wheat varieties.
“Bayer has the goal to offer farmers tailor-made wheat varieties with improved yield and other agronomically-important traits including drought tolerance and nitrogen use efficiency,” said David Nicholson, Global R&D Head at Bayer CropScience. However, it's not an easy task to create new varieties in wheat due to its polyploidy and the involvement of many genes in such complex traits such as drought tolerance. However, improving the tolerance of wheat varieties to cope with drought and other environmental stress factors is important across the world.
Wheat is one of the most important staple crops for humans: the worldwide consumption was 704 million tons in 2011. It is expected that by 2030 farmers will face an increase of 40% in the world-wide demand for wheat. Therefore, new varieties need to provide farmers with important agricultural innovations which help them to sustainably increase yield and profitability.
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