Daniel Grushkin interviewed PPI's Dr. Yafan Huang, President and CSO about 'the next wave of ag-biotechnologies'. Dr. Huang is quoted on the importance of yield... Nature, Nature Biotechnology, March 2012 issue, Agbiotech 2.0
Excerpts from the News Feature, Nature Biotechnology, March 2012 issue, Daniel Grushkin, Nature Publishing Group
"As parts of the developing world embrace biotech, the focus is shifting from food production to fuels, industrial chemicals and even drugs. Daniel Grushkin investigates..."
"The thawing environment for transgenic products outside of Europe partly reflects a realization that grain commodity prices are threatening food security and that, according to the United Nations, agricultural production will need to rise by 70% by 2050 to meet the needs of the world’s growing population1. To stave off a hunger pandemic and dire projections about the wilting effects of climate change on agriculture, new agbiotech tools and applications will be a key part of the solution. As a result, multinational companies are quickening the pace and widening the variety of innovation they are undertaking, not only to compete with each other, but also to outpace low-cost competitors in emerging economies that are producing innovations of their own. Thus,begins Agbiotech 2.0."
"Performance Plants of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, has also developed a drought-tolerance gene technology called Yield Protection Technology (YPT), which it has licensed to several seed companies, including Syngenta based in Basel, Bayer CropScience and Scotts Miracle- Gro based in Marysville, Ohio. Canola with a promoter that downregulates the production of farnesyltransferase have a 26% increase in yield; in petunias, the modification nearly doubles the number of flowers per plant."
"According to the company, suppression of farnesyltransferase triggers stomata to shut earlier and tighter in the drought cycle, allowing plants to hold onto moisture and recover sooner when finally watered. Farnesyltransferase is thought to dull the effects of the phytohormone abscisic acid, which modulates the size of stomata. Performance Plants uses RNA interference to downregulate the gene encoding farnesyltransferase. Yafan Huang, CSO of Performance Plants, expects YPT, the first of its suite of gene technologies, to enter the market in 2013."
When interviewed regarding 'the next wave of ag-biotechnologies' Dr. Yafan Huang, President and CSO, Performance Plants is quoted
"For farmers, the seed advances boil down to the bottom line: “I believe the only meaningful word for all these technologies is yield."
To purchase and download the full article visit Nature Biotechnology.