Monsanto shares soybean technology to boost yields

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Monsanto

Leading US biotechnology firm Monsanto has announced that it will
provide free access to some of its soybean breeding technology, a
move it expects will help identify pest resistant soybeans and
increase yields.

Announced this week during the 2007 National Soybean Breeders - Pathologists' Workshop Conference in St. Louis, Monsanto claims its initiative is part of its commitment to share information and bolster innovation in the industry. Under the new agreement, Monsanto will provide academic researchers and public institutions access to its cyst nematode market technology. This will allow scientists and breeders to develop new soybean varieties aimed at resisting the yield-robbing pest soybean cyst nematode, said the firm. "During the past seven years we have been investigating ways to identify soybean cyst nematode resistant traits in soybeans using genetic markers. By sharing what we know, researchers around the world will be able to more accurately identify resistant soybeans and breed for them,"​ said Bob Reiter, vice president of breeding technology for Monsanto. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), soybean cyst nematode has threatened the US crop since the 1950s, reducing yields by as much as 75 percent. "Now that this genetic marker technology is broadly available, we hope it will spur more research in the area of cyst nematode resistance and benefit the US soybean industry and soybean farmers,"​ said Reiter. In November last year, Monsanto announced its investment in a new soybean breeding facility designed to develop and test new varieties of the bean. Located in Harrisburg, South Dakota, the new facility also tests soybean varieties containing traits in various stages of pre-commercial advancement in the company's product pipeline. A few months previously, Monsanto opened an adjacent corn breeding facility.

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