Dow, Chromatin seek traits in corn, soybeans

by Jeff Gelski
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INDIANAPOLIS and CHICAGO — Two agreements between Dow AgroSciences L.L.C. and Chromatin Inc. are designed to create a novel technology program for the development of next generation traits in corn, soybeans and canola. The first agreement provides Dow with rights to Chromatin’s mini-chromosome technology. The second establishes an exclusive research and license agreement to combine Dow’s Exzact precision technology with mini-chromosomes.

“One of the most critical challenges facing the plant biotechnology industry is the production of cost-competitive multi-gene and stacked trait products,” said Dan Kittle, vice-president of R.&D. for Dow AgroSciences, an Indianapolis-based subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Co. “Today, there are two technical solutions to multi-gene stacking, pathway engineering and simplified plant breeding in plants. Those technical solutions are site-specific genome modification and building of customized chromosomes.”

Exzact precision technology provides a toolkit for targeted genome modification on plants. Its ability to target plant genome sequences delivers a means for engineering multi-gene stacks, editing native genes and deleting undesirable traits. The mini-chromosomes are autonomous genetic elements built to deliver multiple traits of importance to growers, processors and consumers and to accelerate the development and launch of new products.

“When we combine these two powerful and well-established technologies, we will provide product developers with added flexibility,” Dr. Kittle said. “This new platform will allow for the modification of or updating of existing trait stacks on the mini-chromosome without needing to engineer from the ground up.”

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