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Monsanto, Dow agreement paves way for first-ever eight-gene stacked corn

Agriculture.com Staff 09/14/2007 @ 1:48pm

Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences LLC have reached a cross-licensing agreement aimed at launching SmartStax, the industry's first eight-gene stacked combination in corn.

The agreement, according to a company report, is expected to create a new competitive standard for stacked-trait offerings and present an expanded growth opportunity for both companies' seed brands and traits businesses by the end of the decade.

Under the agreement, the companies will create a novel seed offering that combines eight different herbicide tolerance and insect-protection genes into top-performing hybrids for the most complete control ever available. The product will include the companies' respective above- and below-ground insect protection systems, including Dow AgroSciences' Herculex I and Herculex RW technologies; Monsanto's YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2 and YieldGard VT PROâ„¢ technologies; and the two established weed control systems, Roundup Ready and Liberty Link.

"SmartStax expands the insect and weed protection for farmers to help maximize their return on their investment," said Daniel Kittle, vice president, Research & Development for Dow AgroSciences. "We expect growers to rapidly adopt SmartStax as their primary trait package because this combination of traits provides unmatched insect protection and the greatest weed control options available, releasing the full yield potential of their production system. In addition, broad germplasm cross-licensing should generate new high-performing hybrids never before available to the market."

"This agreement allows us to incorporate traits which provide farmers with the most complete yield protection ever available in a single package," said Robb Fraley, chief technology officer for Monsanto. "It's a major advancement in corn trait technology that will help farmers maximize yields by getting the absolute best out of today's high-performing germplasm."

Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto have collaborated on initial proof of concept testing on SmartStax aimed at feasibility of trait integration and viability of enhanced performance. The results from these tests are on target and will be used to prepare regulatory submissions to support the combination of the novel insect-protection stacks. To date, every trait included in SmartStax is already either available commercially or in advanced stages of regulatory review. The companies will make regulatory submissions and anticipate SmartStax will be commercially available to U.S. farmers by the end of the decade.

In addition, the companies will work with regulatory authorities to evaluate how the multiple modes-of-action within SmartStax can offer a new comprehensive insect-protection tool and the companies will seek approval to reduce the established single trait refuge programs.

Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences LLC have reached a cross-licensing agreement aimed at launching SmartStax, the industry's first eight-gene stacked combination in corn.

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