Ludwigshafen, Germany and San Diego, CA, USA (January 27, 2009) BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, and Cibus, a leading plant trait development technology company, today announced that they have reached a significant research milestone for developing CLEARFIELD Production System plants in Brassica winter oilseed rape and in spring canola. Cibus’ patented Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS) was used to enhance the tolerance levels of spring canola plants to BASF’s popular CLEARFIELD herbicides. Data from both greenhouse and field trials show that the new generation of products demonstrates enhanced tolerance levels to CLEARFIELD herbicides. Additionally, the new and improved CLEARFIELD traits will enable canola breeders to develop high yielding hybrids more quickly with greater efficiencies.
Alyson Emanuel, BASF Director, Global Strategic Marketing Herbicides, said, “We are very pleased with the success of the next generation of CLEARFIELD products. BASF worked with Cibus to develop seeds using Cibus’ RTDS technology to target a specific trait not previously achieved with other technologies and the results have been outstanding. As a result of the development of this new proprietary herbicide tolerant trait using the RTDS process, seed companies will be able to put this unique trait into hybrids more efficiently, leading to increased on-farm yields.”
Production improvements are beneficial for both farmers and seed company producers, and this novel development will enable a more cost effective hybrid development program to provide farmers with higher yielding, superior performing hybrids for the CLEARFIELD Production System in oilseed rape / canola. BASF anticipates commercializing the new trait as early as 2013.
Cibus’ proprietary gene conversion technology, RTDS, enables trait development that is quicker to market with less regulatory expense. RTDS technology is a non-transgenic approach for providing plant improvements as compared to classical genetic transformation. BASF’s flagship brand in herbicide tolerance weed control, the CLEARFIELD Production System, matches agronomically advanced seed varieties with custom-designed imidazolinone herbicides that provide extended grass and broadleaf weed control to the farmer.
“This innovative new technology adds further confirmation that valuable traits can be developed in plants without the insertion of foreign DNA into plants. This is a milestone development for Cibus and BASF,” said Cibus Chairman Stephen Evans-Freke. “RTDS technology has broad applications to develop traits in many different types of plant species. The RTDS technology is very precise, allowing companies such as BASF to bring their improved products or traits to market quicker and at lower costs compared to other technologies. Cibus is committed to developing other non-transgenic traits for agriculture.”
The Rosen Group
The CLEARFIELD Production System has been used extensively since 1995. The system matches carefully selected advanced seed varieties/hybrids with custom-designed imidazolinone herbicides. All CLEARFIELD varieties and hybrids are recognized as non-transgenic by international authorities. At the present time, BASF possesses the world’s largest portfolio of non-transgenic herbicide tolerant traits and has established relationships with over 100 seed companies throughout the world. This strategy of worldwide alliances supports the program with an unmatched offering of seed alternatives to meet the specific local needs and preferences of individual growers.
With sales of €3,137 million in 2007, BASF’s Crop Protection division is a leader in crop protection and a strong partner to the farming industry providing well-established and innovative fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides. Farmers use these products and services to improve crop yields and crop quality. Other uses include public health, structural/urban pest control, turf and ornamental plants, vegetation management, and forestry. The vision of BASF’s Crop Protection division is to be the world’s leading innovator, optimizing agricultural production, improving nutrition, and thus enhancing the quality of life for a growing world population. Further information can be found on the web at www.agro.basf.com.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. Its portfolio ranges from oil and gas to chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products, and fine chemicals. As a reliable partner, BASF helps its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF has more than 95,000 employees and posted sales of almost €58 billion in 2007. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com
RTDS technology produces changes within a plant species that could only occur in nature, but does so in a directed way. Thanks in part to recent developments in genome mapping, RTDS is significantly more precise and much faster than conventional plant breeding in the process of new trait development in plants.
RTDS, known as directed mutagenesis, works through the cell’s natural process of gene repair. Every time a cell copies DNA, it makes “scrivener” errors or spelling mistakes. These variations happen all the time, which is how natural variation occurs. Cibus’ technology harnesses the cell’s own natural DNA repair machinery to correct such spelling mistakes, thus directing DNA repair enzymes to correct and repair the targeted gene in a specific way in order to produce a desired trait. This very precise process is similar to altering a single letter in a word contained within a large book.
Cibus is a privately held San Diego-based trait development company. Cibus produces environmentally friendly crop traits for the agricultural community that do not carry the market-resistance or regulatory burden of attributes engineered through the introduction of foreign genetic material. The Company accomplishes this through the application of a new and proprietary technology called the Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS), which has proven itself in the laboratory with several different crops, and in initial field trials of Cibus’ first commercial crop.