International collaboration to source new resistance genes to combat corn diseases

30 January 2017

The Sainsbury Laboratory

Monsanto Company and 2Blades Foundation (2Blades) have formed a collaboration to discover novel sources of genetic resistance to devastating corn diseases. 2Blades will deliver these resistance genes in collaboration with The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, the leading global institute for research on plant-pathogen interactions and long-term partner of 2Blades. The office will be based In the Centrum building on Norwich Research Park.

"Mid and late season corn disease complexes such as stalk and ear rots are among the most significant corn diseases and are endemic across many major growing regions, with the potential to cause significant yield losses,” said Tom Adams, Monsanto’s biotechnology lead.

“With few effective treatment options or resistant hybrids available, developing new solutions is critical and this collaboration will help bring much-needed disease-resistance solutions to corn farmers.”

2Blades’ mission is to contribute to world-wide food security by developing crops with long-lasting resistance to pathogens in order to reduce losses due to disease.

“This program aims to produce genetic solutions for a difficult set of diseases that causes significant yield loss in corn,” said Diana Horvath, president of 2Blades.

“The combination of The Sainsbury Laboratory’s extensive expertise in the molecular basis of plant disease, 2Blades’ proficiency in managing the discovery and advancement of plant disease resistance, and Monsanto’s proven ability to deliver products to farmers provide a strong foundation for producing new genetic solutions for corn diseases.”

“The Sainsbury Laboratory’s dual mission is to carry out fundamental research and to capitalize on these discoveries to reduce crop losses to important diseases,” said Cyril Zipfel, head of The Sainsbury Laboratory.

“This collaboration allows us to address important crop problems with a partner that can bring the solutions to market.”

The collaboration complements Monsanto’s work to discover and develop products that help farmers protect yield with broad-spectrum and durable disease control against economically-important broad acre diseases. 2Blades retains the rights to deploy new leads arising from the program in crops for subsistence agriculture.