MONSANTO AND DEVGEN DESCRIBE NEW APPROACH TO INSECT-PROTECTION
ST. LOUIS, US and Ghent, Belgium (Nov. 5, 2007) - Scientists at
Monsanto Company working in collaboration with Devgen NV, have
identified an innovative and precise approach to protect crops
against insects, which models a novel application of a Nobel Prize
winning discovery. The technology is expected to provide farmers with
a new in-the-seed option to protect crop yields and present another
tool to support agriculture's mission of meeting the world's growing
food, feed and fuel demands.
The results of the companies' research were published in the November
edition of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Biotechnology.
The published scientific paper is a result of both individual work at
Monsanto and Devgen as well as a collaborative research and
development efforts between Monsanto and Devgen.
The enabling technology, called RNA interference or RNAi, is a
biological mechanism found in nature as a way to regulate gene
expression. Monsanto and Devgen identified novel applications of
RNAi, enabling plants to be better protected against insect pests
that feed on crops and impact yield.
"RNA interference is an incredibly promising method for crop
improvement overall," said Robert T. Fraley, Ph.D., Monsanto
executive vice president and chief technology officer. "Because of
its specificity, this exciting technology can help us in areas of
plant science that until now have simply not been possible."
"This technology has the ability to effectively control very specific
plant pests," said Thierry Bogaert, CEO of Devgen. "This is a
breakthrough in crop protection."
The research is expected to allow scientists to harness the cell's
natural ability to regulate protein production and apply it to
produce insect protection for the plant. Monsanto scientists are
working on incorporating this promising application of RNAi into one
of the company's future insect-protected corn projects.
"Future products in our research-and-development pipeline such as
those with corn rootworm protection could use RNAi as an important
complimentary technology to Bt by allowing two different ways to
control corn rootworm," said Fraley. "Offering farmers yet another
way to protect corn against insects allows them the expanded ability
to produce higher yielding crops that can support our world's growing
food, fuel, and feed needs."
The 2006 Nobel Prize was awarded to Andrew Fire at Stanford
University and Craig Mello at University of Massachusetts for their
discovery of naturally occurring RNAi processes in animals.
To see a copy of the study published today in the journal Nature
Biotechnology describing the research in RNAi to control insect
pests, please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based
solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity
and food quality. For more information, please visit:
Devgen is a top 10 public agro biotech company with agricultural
business units focused on developing and commercializing:
* a novel generation of biotech products to protect a wide
spectrum of crops from damage incurred from pests;
* biotech traits and germplasm to meet the growing needs for
high yielding, high quality hybrid rice and selected small grains
in India and S.E. Asia;
* safer and more environmentally friendly agro-chemical
products to protect crops from damage inflicted by plant parasitic
Devgen and Monsanto have an agreement in place for Devgen's research
and is coupled with an agreement which broadens the relationship so
that both companies can explore technology applications in their crop
areas of interest.
Devgen's biopharmaceutical division develops a new class of
preclinical drug candidates, based on novel therapeutic concepts, for
treatment of a range of inflammatory and metabolic disease (diabetes,
obesity) and arrhythmia.
Devgen has entered into partnerships with industry leaders in
biotechnology and agro chemistry. Incorporated in 1997, Devgen has
offices in Ghent (Belgium), Singapore and Hyderabad (India), with a
total work force of about 160 people, including Devgen seeds and crop
technologies, India. Devgen is listed on Eurolist by Euronext
Brussels (ticker: DEVG) since June 2005. For more information on
Devgen, please visit the company's web site: www.devgen.com.
Tel. +32 9 324.24.24
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Contact information Monsanto:
314 694 2478
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