Yield10 Bioscience Inc (NASDAQ:YTEN) shares are shooting up 268% faster than Jack’s magic bean sparking right into a giant beanstalk, thanks to today’s news of a granted non-exclusive research license to Monsanto Company to evaluate the agricultural bioscience company’s novel algal genes C3003 and C3004. Specifically, Monsanto intends to study these two yield traits within the scope of its soybean pipeline as a larger game plan to enhance plant yields.
The name of the game for Yield10 is all about boosting seed yield as well as oil content in oilseed crops, which includes the likes of canola. C3003 is specifically an algal gene deployed as a novel yield trait for C3 photosynthetic crops from Camelina to canola to soybean to rice.
Eyes are on Camelina as an industrial oilseed crop under constrained cultivation in North America and Europe; a crop that could help produce biofuels, novel industrial lipids, and oleochemicals. Yield10 could offer a fresh approach to bettering seed yield, and notes its priority rests on “building better plants” by creating proprietary, cutting-edge technologies that generate rising yields in major food and feed crops alike. These technologies then serve to improve worldwide food security to utilize less inputs of land, water, and fertilizer.
Yield10 has an advanced metabolic engineering tech platform called “Smart Carbon Grid for Plants” that takes new metabolic functionality sourcing from non-plant systems that boast sophisticated models of carbon-flux pathways to pinpoint gene targets that intensify carbon capture from photosynthesis and monitor the carbon flow to seed.
Developed from algae, C3003 stands as lead plant trait, with additional platform trait C3004 taking a part in carbon partitioning. Monsanto intends to conduct individual research with both C3003 and C3004 while also experimenting in combination to test the trait stack’s capabilities.
Monsanto Director of Yield Traits and Disease Dr. Janice Edwards believes, “The early development work with C3003 and C3004 in oilseeds and the mechanisms are very interesting, and we are excited to have the opportunity to explore the potential of these yield traits in soybean,” adding, “We are also impressed by Yield10’s metabolic engineering and advanced carbon flux modeling capabilities, as Monsanto is committed to developing solutions that meet farmers’ important needs, while positively affecting modern agriculture’s carbon footprint and overall sustainability.”
Meanwhile, Yield10’s CEO Dr. Oliver Peoples takes the granted research license to Monsanto in stride, highlighting, “Monsanto is a worldwide leader in soybean research, and we are pleased that they have chosen Yield10 and our novel C3003 and C3004 traits for integration into their soybean program.”
Glancing down the line, “The Yield10 team looks forward to supporting Monsanto with further insights from our research to contribute to their R&D success with the technology,” Dr. Peoples asserts.
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 2016 harvest estimated at over 4.31 billion bushels (USDA1) and a value of approximately $41 billion. Soybeans are widely cultivated in North and South America where a majority of the seed that is grown is genetically modified for crop enhancements, such as increased yield or pest resistance. Demands for agriculture are growing and evolving with a growing global population, rising middle class and shifting diets. As a result, increases in commodity crop yields are needed to keep pace with growing global demand for food security as well as to increase crop yield on agriculture’s existing footprint.
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