Ceres marks milestone in drought trait pipeline

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article


Ceres, Inc. announced that field trials conducted by scientists in China have demonstrated that its portfolio of drought tolerance genes provided significant improvements in yield protection in rice, which the company routinely uses to confirm trait performance.

One of Ceres' genes produced an average of 25 percent more grain than experimental control plants and 20% more grain than rice plants containing a recently deregulated biotech drought trait. Biomass production was improved by 20 percent over the same controls. In addition to greater yield stability under drought conditions, some Ceres genes have also demonstrated yield benefits under normal watering conditions.

Based on these results in rice, the company believes that drought genes already in its pipeline could maintain 100 percent grain and biomass yields under water deficits up to 30 percent, with the opportunity to further enhance tolerance by combining, or stacking, drought genes together. According to published reports, the first commercial biotech drought trait as well as drought traits developed by plant breeding alone have provided only modest (<10%) yield protection.

Ceres will proceed with additional testing and continue to move its traits into its energy crops as well as row crops. About 80 percent of agricultural land in the U.S. experienced drought last season, making the 2012 drought more extensive than any drought since the 1950s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. U.S. corn production, for instance, was down four billion bushels to 10.7 billion bushels from early-season projections of 14.8 billion - a loss of $25 billion based on season-average corn prices for the 2011/12 marketing year.

"Water availability is a fundamental limitation on crop yields. Our drought traits could provide greater yield stability, and in many cases, make cropping less intense in areas where water supplies are limited or being depleted," said Richard Hamilton, President and CEO. "In row crops, this means greater food security, and greater resilience to the effects of climate change. For energy crops, this means making greater use of marginal, low-rent land. This work is made all the more important as U.S. growers faced the most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years."

Roger Pennell, PhD., Vice President of Trait Development, explained that Ceres' drought tolerance genes function differently from one another in the plant. Some of the genes allow plants to utilize water more efficiently, whereas others are able to allow plants to more readily uptake water or reduce water loss. Stacking genes with different modes of actions could therefore add these functions together and make plants even more productive and resistant to stress, he believes.

Pennell credits the company's success in trait development to its early achievements in plant genomics - identifying and evaluating thousands of genes - and its novel two-species evaluation system. By selecting genes that perform similarly across two genetically distant plant types, Ceres has identified superior genes and validated their performance among hundreds of candidate genes. The company is now demonstrating their impact in other plant species.

"Our gene advancement and development system has been proven to be very successful in predicting performance in other grass crops like our sorghum and switchgrass," Pennell said. Based on the company's experience in multiple species, he believes that step increases in performance can be demonstrated in other commercial crops as well. "By combining our drought tolerance genes, I believe we can test the upper limits of drought tolerance achievable in numerous commercial crops."

Ceres results are based on averaged grain and biomass yields across replicated field tests which were repeated in different climates under drought conditions. The company cautioned that results from a research setting are not a guarantee of commercial performance, and further evaluations are required to confirm results.


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


AppliMax Spray Nozzle Calibrator

Features & Options: Quickly and easily ensure your spray nozzles are applying the correct application rate and check nozzle wear. ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form