DuPont Pioneer and the Two Blades Foundation (2Blades) announced a research collaboration to develop soybean varieties with increased resistance to Asian Soybean Rust (ASR).

ASR severely reduces seed quality and yield of soybeans, one of the most important commercial crops worldwide. To date, extensive screening of soybean germplasm for durable and race-independent resistance against ASR has been unsuccessful.

The collaboration aims to identify novel genes that provide durable resistance to ASR in soybeans. Pioneer will deploy identified novel ASR resistance genes in breeding programs to develop soybean varieties that minimize grower losses due to ASR.

"ASR is a critical challenge for farmers, and we are working toward developing multiple technologies to deliver solutions to our customers," said Gusui Wu, DuPont Pioneer senior research director. "This collaboration can advance both breeding and biotechnology approaches to combat this devastating soybean disease."

This announcement builds on a joint research program with the Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL), in Norwich, U.K., led by 2Blades, to identify novel resistance genes that may be used to control ASR in soybeans.

The Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa has a long-standing research program to identify sources of resistance against Asian soybean rust. "Our collaboration with Two Blades Foundation, The Sainsbury Lab and DuPont Pioneer strengthens the possibility to provide growers with alternatives to diminish the economic impact of the disease, which in Brazil alone is estimated at $1.7 billion for the 2013-2014 growing season," said Professor Sergio H. Brommonschenkel.

"The Sainsbury Laboratory is well known for the quality of its research," said Jonathan Jones of TSL, "but for our science to have a major impact, we need collaborations with world-leading companies like DuPont Pioneer. We are delighted that the Two Blades Foundation has helped us establish this agreement, and we look forward to delivering solutions to this very important disease."