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KWS, Rosetta Green announce sugar beet agreement

China Agriculture Report By CnAgri2012-07-20 17:51:32China Agriculture Report Print Rosetta Green Ltd., which develops improved crop traits for the agriculture and alternative fuel industries, and KWS SAAT AG, one of the world's leading plant breeding companies, signed a licensing agreement that relates to a joint project in the discovery and characterization of microRNA genes that have potential to improve sugar beet.

According to the agreement, Rosetta Green will use its unique technology to discover and characterize a limited number of microRNA genes. KWS will receive a license to use those genes which will be identified by Rosetta Green as having the potential to improve the performance of sugar beet. Under the license, KWS will test the effect of the genes in plants and aims to perform field trials, deregulation and commercialization of sugar beet carrying the genes. Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Sugar beet is an agricultural crop whose root contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially on about 4.7 Mio ha worldwide in the temperate climates to produce sugar, bioethanol and biogas. North America, Western and Eastern Europe are the world's largest sugar beet growing regions.

The sugar beet seed market is estimated at a billion dollars annually and increases every year due to increase in the global demand for sugar and renewable energy which is produced from sugar beet (especially biofuel for cars).

"We are very pleased to enter into a research collaboration with Rosetta Green as a partner to develop improved sugar beets," said Dr. Günter Strittmatter, Head of Research at KWS. "Using innovative technologies during our breeding work will contribute to our aim of providing farmers with high performance varieties. Due to the increasing global demand for sugar and renewable energy it is needed to make the cultivation of sugar beet more competitive."

Mr. Amir Avniel, Rosetta Green's CEO, said: "We are greatly honored by KWS's decision to work with Rosetta Green, signing this agreement is another significant milestone for the company and a vote of confidence in its technology. We believe that microRNA genes have great potential in the agriculture industry and in crop improvement.

"In recent years, we witnessed a dramatic increase in food prices and great shortage in crops in many countries. Weather-related damage creates very difficult growth conditions for plants. We are hopeful that the new technology that KWS and Rosetta Green will develop will succeed in significantly improving crops world wide."
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