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Evogene Enters the Field of Insect Resistance
|By Business Wire
|April 29, 2014 07:08 AM EDT
Evogene Ltd. (NYSE:EVGN)(TASE:EVGN), a leading plant genomics company
specializing in enhancing crop productivity for the food, feed and
biofuel industries, disclosed today its entry into the field of plant
insect resistance and control. The Company’s initial activities in this
important field are focusing on developing seed traits displaying
resistance to two key insects, corn rootworm and soybean aphids.
The world-wide damage to crop production due to insects, currently
estimated at 20% of global yield, is expected to become an even greater
problem in coming years. Among the trends underlying this concern are
the growing resistance of insects to currently available insect control
products, primarily biotechnology seeds and ag-chemicals, and ongoing
regulatory pressures to reduce the widespread use of chemical-based
Evogene’s insect resistance activities, which are being undertaken
within the Company’s Biotic Stress division, are focused on an
innovative approach to the discovery of microbial genes responsible for
insecticidal activity. This approach leverages Evogene’s unique
infrastructure of computational capabilities and plant genomic knowhow,
primarily through the incorporation of huge amounts of microbial genomic
data. Such data is only now becoming available due to recent
advancements in microbial data generation technologies. Previously, it
had been limited to data based on cultured bacteria representing only a
small fraction of the potential bacterial sources that can now be
Obtaining useful information from this newly available microbial
“big-data”, presents a major computational challenge requiring the type
of broadly applicable and flexible genomic data integration and analysis
infrastructure that has been created at Evogene during the past decade.
With this underlying infrastructure now in place, Evogene estimates that
approximately $10 million of investment will be required over the next
few years to expand its existing knowledge base, computational
capabilities, testing and validation capabilities to support this new
field of activity.
Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO stated, “Evogene's expansion
into this new area of insect resistance, which represents one of the
largest markets in the agriculture industry, further demonstrates both
the broad applicability of our existing computational discovery
infrastructure and its ability to incorporate new technologies, such as
in this case with respect to microbial “big-data” generation. We are
extremely pleased to disclose today this next natural addition to our
commercial areas of focus as we continue to leverage our unique
discovery assets in addressing multiple key agriculture needs and
Mr. Haviv continued, "The first insects to be targeted in this important
new field of activity, corn rootworm and soybean aphids, are two of the
industry's most devastating and challenging insects. For example, the
impact of soybean aphids on yield has been estimated to reach as high as
50% in some of the prime soybean growing areas in the United States.
Today, the main approach to tackle aphids is applying chemical
insecticides, though their effect is limited as aphids begin developing
resistance to such chemicals. A similar problem with growing resistance
to available products is being seen with respect to corn rootworm as
well as many other pests. Evogene, utilizing its predictive discovery
infrastructure, is seeking to identify new gene-based 'modes-of-action'
to mitigate the increasing resistance of these two and other insects to
About Evogene Ltd.
Evogene (NYSE, TASE: EVGN) is a leading company for the improvement of
crop quality, productivity and economics for the food, feed and biofuel
industries. The Company has strategic collaborations with world-leading
agricultural companies to develop improved seed traits in relation to
yield and a-biotic stress (such as tolerance to drought), and biotic
stress (such as resistance to disease), in key crops as corn, soybean,
wheat and rice. In addition, Evogene has earlier stage operations in
agriculture chemicals and seeds for second generation feedstock for
biodiesel. For more information, please visit www.evogene.com
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" relating to
future events. These statements may be identified by words such as "may",
“expects”, "intends", “anticipates”, “plans”, “believes”,
“scheduled”, “estimates” or words of similar meaning. Such statements
are based on current expectations, estimates, projections and
assumptions, describe opinions about future events, involve certain
risks and uncertainties which are difficult to predict and are not
guarantees of future performance. Therefore, actual future
results, performance or achievements of Evogene may differ materially
from what is expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements due
to a variety of factors, many of which beyond Evogene's
control, including, without limitation, those risk factors contained in
Evogene’s reports filed with the appropriate
securities authority. Evogene disclaims any obligation or commitment to
update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or
developments or changes in expectations, estimates, projections and
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