Ness Ziona and Moshav Yashresh, Israel, June 28, 2023 – NRGene (TASE: NRGN) and Philoseed have announced major progress toward widespread commercialization of ToBRFV (Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus) high resistance trait in tomatoes. Tests on the ToBRFV-resistant tomato plants have been completed by several seed companies that licensed the high-resistant lines. Early adopters, both in Europe and the USA, observed high levels of virus resistance in plants infected with local variants. Furthermore, NRGene’s DNA markers (PCR-based) showed excellent correlation with the resistance trait, making them ideal for developing resistant tomato varieties. Based on the company’s experience, it is estimated that the implementation phase of the high-resistance trait will take up to 18 months.
Back in February 2022 NRGene and Philoseed announced that they had successfully mapped DNA regions in wild tomato plants that enhance their resistance to ToBRFV. To date, ten seed breeding companies have licensed and incorporated the seeds harboring the resistance into their elite tomato varieties.
S.A.I.S Sementi, an Italian seed company, was among the first to validate the ToBRFV resistance trait. “The ToBRFV resistance was confirmed using a variety of methods. This resistance is unique from other sources and provides a great breeding opportunity for our pipeline. It is strongly correlated with the molecular markers and enables us to introduce it into the germplasm. NRGene’s lab support is comprehensive, contributing greatly to the success of this crucial project“, said Franca Castagnoli, head of the research and development department at S.A.I.S Sementi.
Besides Europe, the highly contagious ToBRFV disease is spreading rapidly in Asia, Africa, parts of Mexico, and the United States, endangering the tomato industry worldwide.
Following the validations results, NRGene is expanding the process of commercializing seeds harboring the trait, along with the supported markers. This is in addition to the commercial contracts already signed with seed companies in Israel, Europe, and the United States.
“Seeing our customers gain high resistance to ToBRFV in tomatoes and progress fast towards commercializing novel elite varieties is the greatest reward for our efforts,” said Dr. Gil Ronen, NRGene’s CEO. “It is our hope that with the combined efforts of the whole seed industry, in several years, global damage from this virus will become marginal.”
In order to protect the novel high-resistance trait, the genetic markers and the tomato plants harboring them, Philoseed and NRGene filed several patent applications.
“Based on our field trials, we are highly confident about the potential of our resistance source. With the additional development of the DNA markers with NRGene, we are sure that the implementation of the resistance in commercial varieties will be much more efficient, rapid and accurate,” said Amit Schwarz, Philoseed’s CEO.
Click here to download the White Paper with more information and a technical overview of the discovered QTL.
NRGene is a Genomics company that provides turnkey solutions. Relying on a vast proprietary database and AI-based technologies, we provide the largest seed and food companies in the world with the computational tools they need to maximize their crop yield, significantly saving them time and cost. NRGene’s tools have already been implemented by some of the leading agribiotech companies worldwide, as well as the most influential research teams in academia.
For more information please visit our website at www.nrgene.com
Philoseed is a tomato breeding company with vast experience in tomato seeds and produce marketing and was established by a group of senior experts from Israel’s leading seed companies. Philoseed integrates tomato seed state-of-the-art know-how in breeding, agro-technology, and production. The company’s goal is to lead the global seed industry in the breeding of novel superior tomato varieties.
For further information please visit our website at www.philoseed.com
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