NEW YORK, April 12 – Mendel Biotechnology and seed company Seminis announced that they have received a $4.2 million matching grant from the Advanced Technology Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce to develop genomics tools for developing agricultural crops.
Mendel of Haward, Calif., will work with Seminis, a subsidiary of Mexico-based Savia, to develop a tool designed to allow plant breeders to conduct functional genomics directly in commercial crops.
"With this technology, not only can we conduct gene discovery directly in commercial crops, skipping work in model systems, we can also generate very large numbers of promoter-gene combinations inexpensively and fast,” Dave Summa, Mendel’s CEO, said in a statement.
The companies, which will begin with the tomato, said they expect the new technology to help reduce the time and cost needed to develop new varieties of crops.
The ATP grants are administered by the Commerce Department’s Institute of Standards and Technology and are designed to help companies to support more risky, cutting-edge ideas that might not otherwise get corporate backing.
President George W. Bush has proposed suspending funding for the program in his 2002 budget.