MANHATTAN, Ks - Virginia Tech and Monsanto
have signed a collaboration agreement they say will help both parties improve
their wheat breeding programs and varieties.
Under the agreement's terms, which were not
disclosed, it is expected Monsanto will gain access to Virginia Tech's wheat
germplasm pool, and Virginia Tech will gain access to the advanced breeding
technologies Monsanto continues to develop. This is the second such agreement
with a land-grant university wheat breeding program that Monsanto has signed
this year; in June, the company and Kansas State University announced a
collaboration based on the principles of agreement drafted by the National
Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates.
Carl Griffey, wheat breeder and professor of
crop and soil environmental sciences at Virginia Tech, said working with
companies like Monsanto will give Virginia Tech the potential to more
efficiently develop better varieties for growers.
"Virginia Tech will have immediate access to
the latest technologies for trait and line selection using marker-assisted
breeding and, ultimately, timely access to unique value-added traits, both of
which will make wheat production more competitive and profitable," he
A mutual press release said the collaboration
is non-exclusive, meaning both parties are free to form additional collaborative
arrangements with other public or private entities. In fact, Griffey said
Virginia Tech will continue to work with other public wheat breeding programs,
as it has in the past.
The release also said Virginia Tech will
continue efforts to develop and release wheat varieties with improved
performance in the way it does today, through public, nonexclusive and exclusive
variety releases marketed by local, state and regional seed
announcement is one of many new wheat research investments and collaborations in
the past few years, as NAWG and others in the wheat community have focused
increased attention on the issue of wheat competitiveness and demonstrated
growers' desire for wheat biotechnology.