DuPont Pioneer & International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center Form CRISPR-Cas Public/Private Partnership

Share Article

Agreement designed to improve livelihoods of smallholder maize and wheat farmers globally; Main focus: breeding for resistance to devastating maize lethal necrosis disease for Africa

DuPont Pioneer logo
Working together with CIMMYT will enable smallholder farmers to benefit from technology like CRISPR-Cas, helping them solve their challenges.

DuPont Pioneer and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have entered into a Master Alliance Agreement to jointly develop improved crops using CRISPR-Cas advanced plant breeding technology for characteristics that address the needs of smallholder farmers around the world. Today’s collaboration announcement coincides with CIMMYT’s 50th anniversary celebrations being held this week in El Batán, Mexico.

“Working together with CIMMYT will enable smallholder farmers to benefit from technology like CRISPR-Cas, helping them solve their challenges,” said DuPont Pioneer President Paul Schickler.

Pioneer and CIMMYT collaborations span decades and have contributed significantly to the food security and livelihoods of farmers and consumers in developing countries.

“In a world of rapid technology evolution, it’s essential that new approaches such as CRISPR-Cas are applied widely to benefit both poorer and wealthier farmers,” said CIMMYT Director General Martin Kropff. “This collaboration with DuPont Pioneer will allow us to provide climate and disease resilient varieties more quickly to smallholder farmers in the developing world.”

CRISPR-Cas is an efficient and targeted plant breeding method to develop healthy seeds by using the best native characteristics available within a crop. A range of potential product targets are under consideration by the newly formed Pioneer-CIMMYT Steering Committee. The first project will apply CRISPR-Cas to address maize lethal necrosis disease in Sub-Saharan Africa.

First observed in Kenya in 2011, the disease spread to neighboring countries in less than five years and reduces maize production by an average 3 percent in dry areas and 32 percent in wetter environments, with up to 90 percent grain loss on some farms. In Kenya, maize lethal necrosis affects nearly a quarter of the total maize production, with annual losses representing approximately $110 million.

Two out of three wheat varieties grown worldwide are either direct releases of CIMMYT lines or are derived from CIMMYT breeding materials by the national agricultural research programs. For maize, work in Sub-Saharan Africa since the mid-1990s by CIMMYT and partners, including local and global seed companies, has led to the development and release of more than 200 drought tolerant varieties that benefit over 5 million households on more than 2.5 million hectares each year.    

Headquartered in Mexico, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is the global leader in publicly funded research for development for wheat and maize and for wheat- and maize-based farming systems. CIMMYT works throughout the developing world with hundreds of partners, belongs to CGIAR and leads the CGIAR Research Programs on Wheat and Maize. CIMMYT receives support from CGIAR Fund Donors, national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.

DuPont Pioneer is the world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries. Pioneer provides agronomic support and services to help increase farmer productivity and profitability and strives to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people everywhere. Science with Service Delivering Success®.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders, we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit http://www.dupont.com.

Forward-Looking Statements: This communication contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In this context, forward-looking statements often address expected future business and financial performance and financial condition, and often contain words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “seek,” “see,” “will,” “would,” “target,” similar expressions, and variations or negatives of these words. Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain, such as statements about the consummation of the proposed transaction and the anticipated benefits thereof. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are based on certain assumptions and expectations of future events which may not be realized. Forward-looking statements also involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control. Some of the important factors that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from those projected in any such forward-looking statements are: fluctuations in energy and raw material prices; failure to develop and market new products and optimally manage product life cycles; ability to respond to market acceptance, rules, regulations and policies affecting products based on biotechnology and, in general, for products for the agriculture industry; outcome of significant litigation and environmental matters, including realization of associated indemnification assets, if any; failure to appropriately manage process safety and product stewardship issues; changes in laws and regulations or political conditions; global economic and capital markets conditions, such as inflation, interest and currency exchange rates; business or supply disruptions; security threats, such as acts of sabotage, terrorism or war, natural disasters and weather events and patterns which could affect demand as well as availability of products for the agriculture industry; ability to protect and enforce the company’s intellectual property rights; successful integration of acquired businesses and separation of underperforming or non-strategic assets or businesses; and risks related to the agreement entered on December 11, 2015, with The Dow Chemical Company pursuant to which the companies have agreed to effect an all-stock merger of equals, including the completion of the proposed transaction on anticipated terms and timing, the ability to fully and timely realize the expected benefits of the proposed transaction and risks related to the intended business separations contemplated to occur after the completion of the proposed transaction. The company undertakes no duty to publicly revise or update any forward-looking statements as a result of future developments, or new information or otherwise, should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by securities and other applicable laws.

# # #

09/28/16

The DuPont Oval logo, DuPont™ and all products, unless otherwise noted, denoted with ™, ℠ or ® are trademarks or registered trademarks of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company or its affiliates.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kerrey Kerr-Enskat
DuPont Pioneer
+515-423-8251
Email >

Mike Listman
CIMMYT
+52 (1595) 114 9743
Email >