Short-stature corn gets a five-year development deal

Corn in July. Photo credit: Bernard Tobin, 2014

Bayer and Pairwise, an ag and food company that offers gene-editing for the U.S. market, have announced a five year deal to further develop short-stature corn.

This deal will focus on gene-edited, short-stature corn for future use in Bayer’s Preceon Smart Corn System.

Short-stature corn – with a targeted height of 30 to 40 percent less than traditional corn – offers protection from crop loss due to severe weather events and extreme winds, and allows for more precise application of inputs throughout the growing season, Bayer says.

“Pairwise’s proprietary base editing tools allow for specific changes at virtually any location in the genome, which has the potential to make targeted and much needed improvements in agriculture,” says Bob Reiter, head of R & D at Bayer’s Crop Science Division. “These kinds of new genomic techniques are extraordinarily focused and produce results much more quickly and precisely than the conventional breeding process, ensuring that we can accelerate the delivery of solutions that growers need.”

Earlier this year, Pairwise and Bayer completed a five-year collaboration on corn, soy, wheat, cotton, and canola, resulting in 27 novel traits being transferred into Bayer’s testing programs. Results of the program include edited corn phenotypes with a 20 percent increase in kernel row numbers, which could lead to significantly more yield on the same number of acres and edited soy that reduces the severity of Asian soybean rust, potentially reducing the need for fungicides to combat the disease and protecting the potential for higher yields.

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