Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., Bioceres S.A. and Tropical Melhoramento e Genética Ltda. announced a collaboration agreement between TMG and Verdeca LLC, a soybean technology joint venture between Arcadia and Bioceres. The collaboration will use Verdeca’s proprietary soybean genetic diversity library and Arcadia’s high-throughput screening platform to develop a portfolio of new non-genetically modified (non-GM) soybean varieties with a number of agronomic and product quality benefits.

The Verdeca soybean genetic diversity library is an extensive and exclusive resource of soybean plants with high-density variations in genetic composition and gene function. In combination with Arcadia’s proprietary high-throughput genetic screening platform, the library enables rapid identification of plants with functional differences in single or multiple target genes. Under this new collaboration, scientists will use the soybean library to identify and develop specific genetic variations that affect crop productivity and soybean oil and meal composition. The resulting traits will be further developed by TMG and Verdeca, and commercialized in South America by TMG and globally by Verdeca.

“Our soybean genetic diversity library is a unique and extensive resource of genetic variation that has the potential to enhance our already rich product pipeline,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia. “This new collaboration will enable us to aggressively leverage that resource to develop and commercialize non-GM soybean varieties with improved agronomic performance and product quality. TMG has proven its leadership in Brazilian soybean breeding and is the ideal development and commercial partner for us.”

“This agreement strengthens the existing collaboration between Verdeca and TMG, now expanding to the development of differentiated germplasm in terms of quality attributes and other non-GM traits,” said Federico Trucco, CEO of Bioceres.

"New sources of genetic variation are crucial for the progress of genetic gain and enhancement of our portfolio, and Verdeca’s soybean diversity library is an excellent source of this variation,” said Francisco Soares, CEO of TMG. “TMG is very excited to use it as a tool to improve our existing germplasm, as well as to explore the possibility of having a non-GM alternative to bring new characteristics to soybeans that will benefit the growers."

This collaboration is the latest in a series of Verdeca partnerships that advance the development of high-value soybean traits. In July, Bioceres, Arcadia and TMG announced a collaboration to develop and commercialize Verdeca’s HB4 stress tolerance trait in soybeans. Earlier this year, Verdeca announced a collaboration with Dow AgroSciences to develop soybean trait stacks that combine Verdeca’s agronomic performance and product quality traits with Dow AgroSciences’ herbicide tolerance and insect resistance traits.

In April of this year, Verdeca’s HB4 stress tolerant soybeans received a key regulatory approval in Argentina, the world’s first regulatory approval of an abiotic stress tolerance trait in soybeans. In August of this year, the HB4 stress tolerance trait completed the US Food and Drug Administration Early Food Safety Evaluation process. Verdeca’s stress-tolerant soybeans are in Phase 4 of development.

Soybeans are the world’s fourth-largest crop, grown on 110 million hectares worldwide. Global demand is projected to increase over the next decade as a result of population growth and the expanding middle class in highly populated countries such as India and China. South America is the world’s largest exporter of soybeans to both developed and developing countries, and more than 45 percent of the world’s soybeans are grown in Argentina and Brazil. Verdeca is developing multiple agronomic performance and product quality traits in soybeans to give farmers new options to help increase productivity and total value.