Yield10 Bioscience, Inc. (Nasdaq:YTEN), an agricultural bioscience company that uses its “Trait Factory” to develop high value seed traits for the agriculture and food industries, today announced that it has expanded its non-exclusive research license with Bayer for soybean crop research to include a new discovery related to its C3004 yield trait gene.
Yield10 is developing C3003 and C3004 as novel yield trait genes to increase seed yield in commercially important crops. Under the amended research license, Bayer will have access to these new developments from Yield10’s C3004 program and new advanced technology related to the C3004 trait and its potential to increase seed yield.
“The early development work reported by Yield10 last year utilizing advanced technology for C3004 is promising, so we look forward to seeing if the results translate well in soybean crops,” said Scott Knight, Ph.D., Director of Genome Editing and Yield, Disease and Quality Research at Crop Science, a division of Bayer. “We continue to be impressed by Yield10’s capabilities and approach to identifying novel yield traits for oilseed crops. Bayer is committed to developing tailored solutions that meet the needs of farmers, while reducing modern agriculture’s environmental impact.”
“We are very pleased with the progress made by the Bayer team in the evaluation of C3003 in their soybean program and appreciate the expansion of our relationship to bring Yield10’s C3004 technology into their testing program in 2019,” said Oliver Peoples, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Yield10 Bioscience. “Our team looks forward to supporting Bayer with further insights from our ongoing evaluation of C3003 and C3004 in key crops, and we remain committed to contributing to their success with the technology.”
Soybean is an oilseed crop used for animal feed, food, and food additives. It is the second highest value agricultural crop in the United States with the 2018 harvest estimated by USDA at over 4.5 billion bushels and a value of approximately $39 billion. Soybeans are widely cultivated in North and South America where a majority of the seed is genetically modified for crop enhancements, such as increased yield or pest resistance. Demands for agriculture are growing and evolving along with the global population, including increasing numbers who qualify as middle class, and shifting diets. As a result, increases in commodity crop yields are needed to keep pace with increased global demand for food security as well as to positively impact crop yield by reducing agriculture’s existing carbon footprint.
Yield10 has previously shown that targeting C3003, a gene trait derived from algae, can produce increases in seed yield in oilseed crops, including canola. C3004, a Camelina plant gene, may increase activity in the C3003 plants. In 2018, Yield10 reported that Camelina plants engineered only with increased activity of a novel C3004 gene produced significant increases in seed yield as well as increased vigor and branching in many of the plant lines tested in growth chamber studies. The exact role of C3004 is still being evaluated by Yield10.