Pioneer agreement targets drought tolerance in corn

DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred and Iowa State University have announced two multi-year, exclusive research collaborations to develop a new technology to more effectively develop biotech traits in plants and to improve drought tolerance in corn.

Under the agreements, Pioneer will fund the work of researchers at Iowa State involved in the collaborative projects. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

“We look forward to working with the Plant Sciences Institute to find new ways of providing sustainable solutions for challenges our customers face,” said Mike Lassner, vice-president — Pioneer Trait Discovery and Technology. “This partnership will bring together expertise of two leaders in plant biotechnology to more efficiently address these key research needs.”

“The technologies to be developed are important for safeguarding our crops and sustaining richness of our agricultural resources,” said Stephen Howell, director — Plant Sciences Institute. “The challenges can be better met by combining the efforts of these two leading public and private institutions.”

The first agreement deals with developing new technology for an improved method of integrating DNA into the plant genome to facilitate molecular gene stacking for more effective and efficient development of individual traits and trait combinations. In the second agreement, markers associated with traits such as drought tolerance will be identified in corn lines, to provide new tools for screening and developing new corn hybrids containing these traits.

The Plant Sciences Institute is dedicated to advancing fundamental discovery of plant systems and new molecular technologies that support a sustainable biobased future. Institute researchers are Iowa State faculty, whose research efforts help feed a growing world population, strengthen human health and nutrition, improve crop quality and yield, foster environmental sustainability and expand the uses of plants for biobased products and bioenergy. The Institute supports the training of students and promotes new technologies to aid in the economic development of agricultural industries throughout Iowa. The Institute is supported through public and private funding.