03 February 2022, Israel: NRGene (TASE:NRGN) and Philoseed announce a major milestone in the development of high resistant tomato varieties to overcome the tomato brown rugose fruit virus – ToBRFV. This advance encompasses the discovery of a unique region in the tomato genome, essential to the tomatoes’ resistance to the virus. The companies are in the process of patent protection of this previously unreported genomic region.
The highly contagious tomato virus has been spreading rapidly in Europe, Asia, Africa, and in parts of Mexico and the US, threatening the tomato industry worldwide.
In an effort to combat the virus, NRGene and Philoseed partnered in November 2020 to develop varieties resistant to ToBRFV, leveraging NRGene’s predictive computational abilities and Philoseed’s unique resistance source and breeding expertise.
This discovery of a unique tomato genomic region is another step forward towards complete resistance solution. It will facilitate the development of DNA markers and seeds of ToBRFV high resistance (HR) tomato varieties and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. NRGene is currently offering immediate access to the discovered genomic region and DNA markers, and has already signed several commercial contracts, commercializing ToBRFV HR trait with Israeli, European and US companies.
“This significant milestone will accelerate the resistance development process, bringing higher quality, high-yielding varieties to the entire tomato values chain all the way up to our plates,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, NRGene’s CEO.
“We are thrilled and highly optimistic that this discovery will open up new and exciting avenues to enable breeding tomato varieties with dominant high resistance to the ToBRFV. We believe that the synergy between the Philoseed and NRGene teams paves the way for further highly productive collaboration toward the discovery of sources of other important resistances for the development of high-quality tomato varieties,” said Amit Schwarz, Philoseed’s CEO.