Yield10 Bioscience Initiates Early Development Program in Corn to Evaluate Novel Traits
WOBURN, Mass- Yield10 Bioscience, Inc. (Nasdaq:YTEN), a Company developing new technologies to create step-change improvements in crop yield that enhance global food security, announced today that it has initiated an early development program in corn to evaluate novel seed yield and drought tolerance traits. Corn is the highest value commercial row crop grown in the United States.
Under this program, novel traits discovered by Yield10 will be deployed in corn by a third-party agriculture company with proven expertise introducing new traits into corn. This aspect of the development activity is expected to be completed in early 2020. Yield10 plans to engage an additional third-party to conduct field testing of the novel traits in corn to evaluate the impact on seed yield.
“Historically, advances in corn seed yield have been based on the development of hybrids and crop protection strategies that prevent yield losses caused by the presence of excessive weeds or insect pests,” said Kristi Snell, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of Yield10 Bioscience. “Our approach complements these strategies as we are now introducing into corn a number of our traits that have shown promise to boost inherent seed yield. We are excited about extending our trait development activities into corn and look forward to identifying high performing yield traits for this important commercial row crop.”
Corn is planted on approximately 90 million acres and is the highest value crop in the United States. Harvests from recent years have been approximately 15 billion bushels, worth approximately $50 billion. Improving seed yield in corn would increase revenue for growers and contribute to global food security.
“The start of our development program in corn is a key milestone for Yield10 as it places us on the path toward commercialization of our novel yield traits in this important crop,” said Oliver Peoples, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Yield10 Bioscience. “Our strategy is to leverage third-party resources to access development capabilities in corn and other crops including soybean, sorghum and wheat. This approach enables us to significantly expand the development of our novel traits across multiple crops, a strategy we believe will continue to generate key proof points in crops of high commercial interest. Every acre in which our traits add value represents an additional source of potential revenue. Should our novel traits show promise in corn, we will be well-positioned to pursue licensing opportunities with agricultural industry leaders.”
The yield traits included in the corn development program are C3003, C3004, and C3011, as well as the transcription factors C4001, C4002, and C4003. C3003, a gene found in algae, has produced encouraging improvements in seed yield in oilseed crops. The trait C3004 will also be evaluated in corn, based on encouraging seed yield results obtained in Camelina. C3011 is a new trait developed in Yield10’s GRAIN gene discovery platform. The Company previously reported that the C4000 series of traits, which include global regulatory genes, or global transcription factors (“GTFs”), can significantly increase photosynthesis and biomass yield in studies utilizing switchgrass as a model crop. Biotech traits based on microbial genes, as well as plant gene traits, which have the potential to be non-regulated by deploying them using cis-genic or CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing approaches, will be tested in Yield10’s corn program.