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Evogene will identify genes predicted to be effective against Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm, and IMAmt will validate the candidate toxins in cotton. Following successful validation, the two intend to enter negotiations for a commercial license agreement. Cotton is among the most significant commodity crops. Farm gate value of global cotton production is estimated at $30 billion, with Brazil being the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world. Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm are among the most devastating pests threatening the viability of the cotton industry. It is estimated that the Cotton Boll Weevil inflicts annual costs of $468 million in Brazil alone, due to insecticide procurement and crop losses, with this pest seriously affecting all territories in which cotton is grown. Moreover, with insecticides being only marginally effective, this pest has made entire geographies inaccessible for cotton cultivation. Fall Armyworm can cause significant damage to crops including rice, sorghum, millet, sugarcane, vegetable crops and cotton. As part of the agreement, Evogene will screen its extensive, already tested insecticidal gene data base and select genes with predicted activity against Cotton Boll Weevil and Fall Armyworm. Following the identification of such genes IMAmt will validate these genes in lab assays directly against the target pests. Evogene will receive research and development funding for the initial discovery phase.
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