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DuPont-Pioneer Venture Expected to Heat Up Plant Genetics Activity

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WILMINGTON, Del.--The announced purchase by DuPont here of a 20 percent stake in Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Des Moines, Iowa, is widely seen as fueling further plant genetics research. In addition to the $1.7 billion investment in Pioneer, DuPont will form a joint venture with the nation's largest seed company, aimed at creating transgenic crops with special nutritional and pharmaceutical attributes. The joint venture will be known as Optimum Quality Grains and should be producing crops within two years.

The deal marries DuPont's advanced biotechnology expertise with Pioneer's dominant market share. "This deal moves our technology to another plane," commented Pioneer senior vice-president Richard McConnell.

In other news, Pioneer also signed a deal to collaborate with CuraGen on gene discovery. The company will use CuraGen's proprietary gene expression technology to uncover genes related to agricultural seed performance.

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