Israel-based plant genomics company Evogene said on Tuesday it had expanded operations into the field of plant insect resistance and control.

It will invest about $10 million and start by focusing on seed traits displaying resistance to two key insects, corn rootworm and soybean aphids, Evogene said in a statement.

About 20 percent of global crop production is damaged by insects, Evogene said, and the problem is expected to get worse, in part due to a growing resistance of insects to available insect control products.

The company said it is using an "innovative approach to the discovery of microbial genes responsible for insecticidal activity".

"Evogene's expansion into this new area of insect resistance, which represents one of the largest markets in the agriculture industry, further demonstrates both the broad applicability of our existing computational discovery infrastructure and its ability to incorporate new technologies," said Ofer Haviv, Evogene's chief executive officer.