RESEARCH IN ARABIDOPSIS LEADS TO NOVEL CROP ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGYRESEARCH IN ARABIDOPSIS LEADS TO NOVEL CROP ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGY

2nd Nov 2010

The John Innes Centre is pleased to announce an exclusive commercial license agreement for technology that enhances the root systems of plants and with important implications for crop improvement. JIC's technology management company Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL) is licensing the technology to Dow AgroSciences.

Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), entered into an exclusive commercial license agreement with Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL) for technology that enhances the root systems of plants with important implications for crop improvement. The commercial license covers a range of important agricultural crops.

The technology was developed by Dr. Liam Dolan and his colleagues at the John Innes Centre, an institute of the BBSRC on the Norwich Research Park. With BBSRC funding, the team cloned and characterized genes which may play vital roles in anchorage, water use and nutrient uptake in plants. The genes are highly conserved among land plants and the technology has already been shown to be effective in enhancing root systems in transgenic plants of major crops around the world.

"Our research aims to answer key questions in biology and to provide solutions to important problems in food security, energy production, promoting health and combating disease," said Professor Dale Sanders, Director of the John Innes Centre. "The technology was born out of basic research in nutrient uptake by plants and demonstrates the importance to agriculture of answering fundamental questions."
"Dow AgroSciences is excited to be collaborating with one of the most respected organizations in the biotechnology industry," said Dan Kittle, Ph.D., vice president of Dow AgroSciences. "By combining our expertise in biotech crops and PBL's innovative technology from JIC, we have the opportunity to enhance a plant's ability to survive stress, increase nutrient utilization, and provide yield stability in challenging years or in parts of the world where there are less than favorable growing conditions."The technology could bring improved crop varieties to the agricultural market and help open new markets.

"We are delighted to enter this partnership with Dow AgroSciences," said Dr Jan Chojecki, Managing Director of PBL. "This technology has real potential to benefit agriculture and address global challenges of food production, and Dow AgroSciences' acknowledged strength in developing and commercializing new crop products is the key to achieving this important goal."

The commercial license covers a range of important agricultural crops.

NOTE: Liam Dolan is presently Sherardian Professor of Botany, in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford.

http://www.jic.ac.uk/corporate/media-and-public/current-releases/101102cropenhancementtechnology.html