DuPont and Rosetta Green Ltd. have entered into a strategic research agreement to identify drought tolerance genes in corn and soybeans.

Under the agreement, Rosetta Green will use proprietary technology and bioinformatics capabilities to identify microRNAs. DuPont, through its Pioneer Hi-Bred business, will test candidate genes in target crops. Pioneer will have an exclusive commercial license for genes identified through this collaboration which will improve drought tolerance in corn and soybeans for farmers. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Drought can lead to losses for corn growers of up to $13 billion annually,” said John Bedbrook, vice president, DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology. “We are pleased to collaborate with Rosetta Green to identify new genes leads which can help farmers protect yield and feed a growing population, and build on our strong pipeline of leads for drought tolerance.”

Water is one of the most significant inputs for farmers. On average, 85 percent of corn acres experience some level of yield reduction due to drought stress during the growing season. Improved drought tolerance in corn and soybeans will enable growers across the world to increase productivity while responsibly managing water resources.

"We are greatly honored by Pioneer's decisions to work with Rosetta Green,” said Amir Avniel, Rosetta Green CEO. “Signing this agreement is a significant milestone for the company and a vote of confidence in its technology. We believe that microRNA genes have great potential in the agriculture industry and in crop improvement.”

MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules in corn, soybeans and other plants. They represent an additional mode of action to develop important trait solutions in corn and other crops.