November 3, 2011, Updated September 11, 2012

Yissum Research Development Company, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Morflora Israel, a trait delivery innovation company, have signed a collaborative agreement for the development of a revolutionary seed treatment technology for plant improvement.

Prof. Ilan Sela and Prof. Haim D. Rabinowitch both from the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University developed the new technology known as TraitUP(TM). It enables the introduction of genetic materials into seeds without modifying its DNA. The specific vectors serve as carriers to introduce desired genes into seeds in a fast and efficient way.

“This is an exciting development in the plant improvement arena,” said Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum. “Use of the vector has already been successfully out-licensed to Morflora for two other applications, namely for curing fruit trees’ diseases in orchards and groves, and seedling-treatment in the nursery. This new application via seed enables the immediate and efficient improvement of plants already before sowing.”

“Until today seed companies wishing to introduce genes into plants had to rely on breeding and transformation methods which can take anytime between three to ten years to develop, and at the end express the trait in only a few, selected, plant species,” said Dotan Peleg, CEO of Morflora. “The new ability to deliver traits within days instead of years, and to offer a treatment with results similar to breeding to all current species — answers a long and unmet need that will revolutionize modern agriculture and significantly impact the vegetable and commodity crop markets.”

Professors Rabinowitch and Sela will join Morflora’s Scientific Advisory Board, and will continue to lead the research of seed treatment technology towards commercial applicability. Yaacov Michlin will join Morflora’s board of directors.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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