21 July 2022, Indianapolis: Today, 2Blades and Corteva Agriscience announced they have reached a milestone in their collaboration to develop a transgene for Asian Soybean Rust (ASR) resistance with successful field trials of Latin American soybean varieties containing the new ASR transgene. This achievement marks an important point in the research collaboration between the two organizations, which seeks to develop durable resistance and minimize grower losses due to the plant pathogen.
Endemic to most soybean-producing regions of the globe, ASR can cause yield loss ranging from 10-80% in countries where it is established, carrying significant risk for farmers and agricultural systems. Soybeans in Latin America are particularly vulnerable to this fungal disease due to mild winter conditions, which allow the fungus to survive year-round. The transgenic trait in development by 2Blades and Corteva will provide an additional disease management tool for farmers in the region, increasing disease resistance durability and options for integrated disease management strategies.
“Results from the trial showed strong disease resistance in the transgenic soybean varieties tested,” said Dr. Tom Greene, Biotechnology Leader at Corteva Agriscience. “Our partnership with 2Blades combines the strengths of our organizations in pursuit of our common goal: enhancing the productivity of soybeans for farmers across Latin America via stronger plant genetics.”
2Blades’ knowledge of disease resistance, combined with Corteva’s laboratory and field testing proficiency, as well as product development expertise, prompted the initial decision to collaborate in 2013. From 2013 to 2018, 2Blades and Corteva undertook joint research to identify novel ASR resistance genes at the Universidade Federal de Viçosa in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and at the 2Blades Group located within The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK. Additional testing has been conducted across Corteva’s global research footprint.
“Lead genes from our collaboration continue to advance in our pipeline, allowing us to better understand their performance against key ASR pathogens that impact our growers in Latin America,” said Dr. Jeff Habben, who leads the Disease Resistance Discovery group at Corteva Agriscience. “Reaching this collaborative milestone reinforces our trajectory and builds confidence in our approach.”
While scientific advancements have led to some improvements in soybean rust control in countries such as Brazil, durable genetic resistance is an important tool for farmers to mitigate the risk of the disease.
“Soybean rust is a key challenge for growers and needs to be combatted with an integrated strategy,” said Dr. Peter van Esse, Vice President and Group Leader at 2Blades. “Genetic resistance against this disease will help give growers a powerful tool to manage the disease in a more effective and sustainable way.”