Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ben-Gurion University signs deal with Bayer CropScience

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev signed an agreement with Bayer BioScience N.V., a subsidiary of Bayer CropScience, to develop solutions to help plants cope with extreme temperatures and limited water availability.

The agreement builds upon the expertise and breakthrough results from Dr. Simon Barak's laboratory at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), according to an announcement by the University.

Barak's team is identifying genes that allow plants to tolerate the harsh environmental stresses characteristic of arid regions, and its study was published recently in the journal Plant Physiology.

Two of these genes have been studied in detail and the team found that by removing either of the two genes, the tolerance of the model plant, Arabidopsis, to heat, salt and drought could be increased.

The agreement signed between BGN Technologies -- the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University -- and Bayer CropScience will allow the identification of additional genes that have an effect on making plants more "stress-resistant".

Barak said the new collaboration will allow his team to further sift through the estimated 30,000 Arabidopsis genes to identify additional candidate stress tolerance genes.

BioScience is one of three business groups of Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of Germany's Bayer AG with sales of 6.4 billion euros in 2008.

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