DuPont Pioneer and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) will be working together to advance the CRISPR-Cas technology. A new Master Alliance Agreement details their cooperation in finding characteristics that address the needs of smallholder famers across the globe.
“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 have a long history of working together on issues like food security and improving the livelihoods of farmers in developing nationals.
“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.
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.
CIMMYT leads the way in publicly funded research for developing wheat and maize and for wheat and maize based farming systems.