Evogene advances against Western corn rootworm

June 26, 2017 |

In Israel, Evogene has advanced a gene displaying insecticidal activity against Western corn rootworm into Phase-I  focusing on validation in target crops, following positive laboratory assay results. Additionally, the company announced for the first time the identification of a set of genes displaying initial toxic activity against southern green stinkbug, a major pest in soybean and other crops.

Evogene’s insect control seed trait program was initiated in 2014 and addresses numerous insect orders which pose serious threats to crop productivity, including Coleoptera, Lepedoptera and Hemiptera. The program is based on the utilization of Evogene’s unique predictive computational discovery platform and proprietary metagenomics data, at its research facilities in Israel. The predicted genes were then validated at Evogene’s R&D site in St. Louis. This approach has already resulted in genes displaying initial insecticidal activity against major crop pests, with several genes at the later stages of discovery, and includes today’s advancement of EVO30495 into Phase-I.

Additionally, for the first time Evogene has identified a set of genes displaying initial toxic activity against another major pest, the southern green stinkbug. The discovery of toxin gene traits against stinkbug is particularly significant, as there are currently no commercially available insect control seed trait solutions for this major pest in soybean and other crops.

Evogene is advancing into Phase-I a gene, EVO30495, displaying high potency against Western corn rootworm, which is a major pest in corn. EVO30495 has met all of the phase advancement criteria, including efficacy and initial estimation of lower risk of toxicity to other organisms such as bees, animals and humans. Phase-I will include introduction of the gene into corn, followed by greenhouse experiments and further validation activities; initial results are anticipated within 1-2 years.

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