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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Food Business News Weekly notes that Bayer Crop Science reports it has
reached a milestone with Israel-based Evogene Ltd. in a joint research
collaboration. Using Evogene technology, more than 200,000 single nucleotide
polymorphisms have been identified across the wheat genome. S.N.P.s “are
single-nucleotide substitutions of one base in the genome and a powerful type
of molecular marker for traits improvement,” Bayer said.

Noting that the wheat genome is five times larger than the human genome,
Bayer said this complexity creates a major hurdle for wheat breeders looking to
improve wheat quality.

“The identification of a significant number of S.N.P. markers improves the
overall understanding of the wheat genome, and therefore facilitates the
utilization of this knowledge to deliver desirable improvements in wheat,”
Bayer said.

Bayer’s collaboration with Evogene was established last December. Bayer said
the five-year pact is “aimed at accelerating the development and introduction
of improved wheat varieties. The collaboration is focusing on improving wheat
yield, drought tolerance and fertilizer use efficiency.”

Elaborating on the work, Bayer said Evogene’s proprietary assembly tools and
algorithms for S.N.P. identification, designed specifically for the wheat
genome, were used in the research. The dataset was obtained from a broad
collection of wheat lines from multiple locations worldwide.

“We want to improve wheat to tackle issues like climate change and the
decline of mineral resources used for fertilizer,” said Mathias Kremer, head of
the bioscience business group of Bayer CropScience. “This research milestone is
an important step toward that goal, and will enable Bayer CropScience to
deliver improved wheat varieties to growers sooner.”

Based in Rehovot near Tel Aviv, Evogene is focused on developing improved
traits across a range of crops. The company focuses on utilizing proprietary
computational genomic technologies for breeding, both bioengineered and
advanced breeding technologies.

“We are very proud of this technological breakthrough, which we achieved in
a relatively short period,” said Ofer Haviv, president and chief executive
officer. “The identification of the S.N.P.s is a key to enhancing native traits
utilizing genomics-guided, efficient and precise breeding tools. Our
newly-discovered S.N.P. dataset significantly expands our understanding of the
wheat genome, which we anticipate will facilitate our joint work with Bayer
CropScience to introduce improved wheat varieties.”

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