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Research Triangle Park, N.C. - Syngenta researchers have been published in the world-renowned international science journal Nature for their breakthrough work that could lead to decreases in the time is takes to breed seeds. These findings could translate to significant cost efficiencies in the commercial sector of agriculture.

The paper, authored by a Syngenta research team, establishes that haploid induction, a complex modern seed breeding process that helps shave years off the seed breeding process in corn, is triggered by a defect in an enzyme coded by the Matrilineal (MTL) gene. The researchers also found that novel gene edits in the MTL gene can induce haploid induction, opening up the possibility to optimize the technology and transfer it to crops other than corn.

“Successful haploid induction is an often painstaking and costly process,” said Tim Kelliher, principal scientist, reproduction biology at Syngenta and lead author of the paper. “But this research is an important step in showing how gene editing can help us breed plants that produce higher yields, on a much more efficient time frame.”

“We know that investment in gene editing and crop genetics can help us create significant progress toward sustainable intensification of agriculture,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of Seeds Research at Syngenta. “To be recognized by the scientific community for this work illustrates its importance to innovation in agriculture. It is a true honor and testament to the quality of our scientists.”

This work directly addresses one of the six commitments of The Good Growth Plan – making crops more efficient without using more land, water or inputs.

“Understanding the underlying biology of MTL and related genes will open a wave of innovation on our quest to find ways to feed the world more efficiently and effectively,” van Lookeren Campagne added.

To read the paper published by Syngenta researchers, visit http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v542/n7639/full/nature20827.html.

Syngenta gets ready for a new generation of growers

As a new generation of growers prepares to take over their family farms, agribusinesses like Syngenta are getting ready for the transition. These young growers are part of America’s largest demographic - millennials, generally defined as people born between 1982 and 2004.

“Millennials are one of the most talked about but least understood generations,” said Gil Strader, head of field force excellence and training at Syngenta. “We’re finding fascinating insights that can help bridge this generation knowledge gap.”

Strader is sharing these insights with his sales and marketing colleagues to help them better understand millennials. “We’ve implemented a major initiative to train our employees who interact the most with resellers and growers to build trust, improve service and strengthen partnerships.”

The training includes learning about millennials as customers, listening to what they want from a company, and connecting older and younger generations to foster mentoring. As a result, Syngenta is helping to shatter myths about what makes younger growers tick. For example, contrary to popular belief, millennials are not self-absorbed, indecisive or addicted to social media.

“We are finding that young farmers are serious decision makers who crave connection and communications,” said Lynn Sandlin, lead of market research and insight at Syngenta. “They want to have great business relationships with the people they work with.”

As agriculture transitions from one generation to the next, these relationships are evolving. While most principal operators are 55 and older, as noted in the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture, younger growers, like Rob DeFauw, are making more farm-management decisions.

“I want to make the best, most informed decisions I can,” said DeFauw, 31, who farms with his father-in-law near Geneseo, Illinois. “I would rather visit with someone over the phone or in person, instead of wading through millions of Google search pages to find answers.”

Millennial farmers are hungry for knowledge and gather information from a variety of sources. DeFauw uses smartphone apps, Twitter, farm magazine articles and AM radio. He also appreciates insights from his Syngenta representative, Trent Rowland. He’s very knowledgeable and shares answers that help me learn,” said DeFauw. “I’m relying on him more and more to help fine-tune my management decisions.”

Not surprisingly, millennials view farming not only as a business, but also a lifestyle. “These young people are very serious about what they’re trying to accomplish on the job, but they also want to have a high quality of life,” Sandlin said.

DeFauw appreciates advisers like those from Syngenta, who understand young growers and want to help them reach their goals. “They work with me to find the right solutions and support the decisions I make to help our business succeed,” he said. 

To learn more about millennials and other agricultural trends, go to [../../../NCHome$/snorris/Desktop/www.syngentathrive.com]www.syngentathrive.com.

About Syngenta

Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities. To learn more visit www.syngenta.com and www.goodgrowthplan.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Syngenta and www.twitter.com/SyngentaUS.

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