This story has been updated from an earlier version. It includes comment from an Exelixis spokeswoman.
NEW YORK, April 3 - An agbio joint venture of Exelixis and Bayer has collected "a nearly complete" map of the Heliothis virescens genome, the parent companies said today.
It took about a year for the JV, Genoptera, to sequence the genome of the widely used moth, according to Exelixis and Bayer, a feat may displace drosophila as the most economical insect to help researchers develop safer and more effective insecticides.
Bayer, the world's 900-pound gorilla of insecticide development, plans to use the H. virescens genome to harvest new crop-protection products. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Researchers at Exelixis mapped about 90 percent of the H. virescens genome by using the shotgun method after first sequencing the organism's ESTs. Drawing on their experience with Drosophila, the scientists used Exelixis' bioinformatics tools to correlate genomic sequence data from both species and compare the two genomes for common genes.
A spokewoman for Exelixis said that Bayer, which believes the sequence has commercial value, does have any immediate plans to make the data publicly available. A spokesman for Bayer was not immediately available for comment.