Syngenta/Nexgen pact on virus-resistant crops
Syngenta has entered into a collaboration with the Australian company, Nexgen Plants (St Lucia, Queensland), to develop resistance for three key viruses in leading crops. Nexgen was formed in August 2013 after an Aus$2 million (US$1.9 million at the current rate) investment from two venture capital firms (Agrow No 673, p 5). It is developing virus-resistant plants using University of Queensland technology based on a new class of virus micro RNA molecules. "The Nexgen technology can confer virus resistance into existing commercial varieties or in parent lines as part of hybrid seed production," says professor Peer Schrenk, who led the research group that developed the technology. "Plant viruses would have to develop an extremely unlikely mutation for the resistance to be broken," he adds.