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Monsanto/Sapphire Energy to exploit algal yield genes

Monsanto and US bioenergy company Sapphire Energy (San Diego, California) have signed a collaboration deal that will see Sapphire’s algae-based research technology platform used to improve stress tolerance and yields in genetically modified crops. The companies will focus on identifying genes that positively affect growth in algae that might also be effective in crop plants. The agreement will “push the known boundaries” for algal science to search for traits that will benefit crop plants and accelerate progress towards Sapphire’s goal of commercialising algae as a renewable energy crop, the company says. Monsanto will make an undisclosed equity investment in Sapphire. Other terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

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