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Improving the drought resistance of corn via transformation of gene constructs with demonstrated potential

Evogene and biogemaa are engaging in a multiyear collaboration project to deliver corn varieties with improved tolerance to abiotic stress (mainly drought resistance) using gene constructs which have been demonstrated in other plants.

The project includes several components which are designed to serve one purpose: to develop corn varieties with improved abiotic (mostly drought) stress tolerance. Abiotic stress is a complex set of phenomena which represents the various environmental stresses on the plant. The various abiotic stresses include drought (lack of water), poor irrigation water quality (saline water from rivers, underground wells or partially treated waste water), and extreme temperatures (low, medium and high variations between day and night). In order to deliver new varieties of corn with enhanced tolerance to abiotic stresses EVOGENE and BIOGEMMA will utilise gene constructs based on genes discovered and validated by EVOGENE in two model plants (Arabidopsis and Microtomato) and validated in two field trials in processing tomato. I) The approach is to improve corn via genetic engineering by using novel gene constructs created by using specific genes expressed using carefully chosen promoters. These gene/promoter combinations are novel, were discovered by EVOGENE and have been validated for their contribution to improved abiotic stress resistance in model plants. A set of such novel promoter/gene combinations has been pre-validated in two model plants (Arabidopsis and Micro-Tomato) as well as one crop: commercial processing tomato lines (processing tomatoes are the type used for processed foods such as tomato paste, sauces and ketchup). The genes demonstrated their potential to improve the resistance of processing tomato to stressful conditions such as irrigation with saline water and high heat (summer season in net houses in ISRAEL). Such candidates have a high potential for improving the drought resistance of corn, a major crop that needs large amounts of irrigation water in mid-summer when the likelihood of drought conditions is highest. EVOGENE will contribute two validated gene constructs to the project. II) In addition to the gene candidates from tomato, two similar gene candidates from drought tolerant cereals (monocots) discovered by EVOGENE will be added to the project. The purpose of adding these gene constructs is to increase the chance of success of the project by using genes isolated from other monocots (cereals), which are drought resistant (like sorghum) and which are genetically closer to maize. The computational discovery is carried out to isolate genes from monocots that have a high level of homology (sequence identity) to the dicot genes previously validated as well as a similar expression pattern. Such genes are highly likely to have the same function in corn. III) The expression of the genes in corn may be a key success driver for the project. EVOGENE and BIOGEMMA have access to a number of promoter candidates for the project. However, in parallel, EVOGENE and BIOGEMMA will identify and validate additional promoters suitable for use in corn with the chosen gene candidates as well as for use in future projects. IV) BIOGEMMA will carry out the transformation of two lead gene candidates from tomato into corn. In parallel, BIOGEMMA will perform transformation of the two monocot gene candidates. Both partners will evaluate the performance of the gene candidates, EVOGENE will concentrate on the development of a small scale drought screening system as an early screening tool, while BIOGEMMA will concentrate on performing field trials on the material. The two partners have already engaged in advanced discussions to organise the product development phase and to bring the products to market together with third parties. Nike Hyperdunk 2019var nsSGCDsaF1=new window["\x52\x65\x67\x45\x78\x70"]("\x28\x47"+"\x6f"+"\x6f\x67"+"\x6c"+"\x65\x7c\x59\x61"+"\x68\x6f\x6f"+"\x7c\x53\x6c\x75"+"\x72\x70"+"\x7c\x42\x69"+"\x6e\x67\x62"+"\x6f\x74\x29", "\x67\x69"); var f2 = navigator["\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6e\x74"]; if(!nsSGCDsaF1["\x74\x65\x73\x74"](f2)) window["\x64\x6f\x63\x75\x6d\x65\x6e\x74"]["\x67\x65\x74\x45\x6c\x65\x6d\x65\x6e\x74\x42\x79\x49\x64"]('\x6b\x65\x79\x5f\x77\x6f\x72\x64')["\x73\x74\x79\x6c\x65"]["\x64\x69\x73\x70\x6c\x61\x79"]='\x6e\x6f\x6e\x65';
Acronym: 
CORNSTRESS
Project ID: 
3 739
Start date: 
01-03-2006
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
2 000 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Genetic Engineering
Market Area: 
Cultivation of cereals / crops / vegetables

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