54 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM INDUSTRY NEWS TAILORED TO SEED PROFESSIONALS, INDUSTRY NEWS DELIVERS THE PEOPLE, RESEARCH, BUSINESS AND PRODUCT NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW. SUBMISSIONS ARE WELCOME. EMAIL US AT NEWS@ISSUESINK.COM. INDUSTRY NEWS A joint study by Exeter University, Rothamsted Research and Bayer has discovered enzymes in honey bees and bumble bees that determine how sensi- tive they are to different neonicotinoid insecticides. As in other organisms, toxins in bees can be broken down by enzymes called cytochrome P450s. The researchers carried out the most comprehensive analy- sis of bee P450 detoxification enzymes ever conducted. The study identified one sub- family of these enzymes in bees – CYP9Q – and found it was responsible for the rapid breakdown of certain neonicotinoids, such as thiacloprid, making them virtually non- toxic to bees. Bayer is confident that this knowledge will enable the company to design further bee-friendly insecticides in an even more targeted way, using relatively simple methods (in vitro) at an early stage of a product’s development. Scientists at the University of Missouri map additional soybean genomes, which could help breeders fight diseases and other challenges in the crop. Approximately 340 million metric tons of soybeans are produced globally each year, with the market for soybeans worth $40 billion in the U.S. alone. Having a map of soybean genes is key for breeders, who work to develop varieties that farmers can use to help battle diseases and other environ- mental factors. For nearly a decade, only one soybean cultivar – “Williams 82” – had been sequenced, but MU scientists led by Henry Nguyen now have succeeded in mapping two more, giving breeders access to a broader array of soybean genes. The purpose of this sequencing project, “Better Soybean, Better Life,” is to assist molecular breeding and genome editing in order to enhance the productivity, biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, and nutritional quality of soybeans around the world. Having several reference genomes will allow breeders to develop and deliver new varieties more quickly and efficiently. PEOPLE NEWS Professor Melanie Welham has been selected to be the Executive Chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) when UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) comes into being in April 2018. Professor Melanie Welham is currently interim Chief Executive of BBSRC having previously served as Executive Director, Science for BBSRC. Prior to this, Professor Welham worked at the University of Bath as Professor of Molecular Signalling and was the first woman to be appointed a profes- sor in her department. Melanie is a lead- ing researcher in molecular signalling and stem cell science. Phytelligence, an agricultural biotech- nology company, adds Peter Viss to its team as vice president of global sales for nuts, hops and new crops. In this role, Viss will lead the company’s efforts to provide new and existing growers with premium planting stock in these segments. Viss will work with Phytelligence’s customer service, accounting and marketing teams to ensure growers have access to the highest quality nut trees, hop plants and new product lines. After 44 years in the grass seed industry, Steve Tubbs (66) of Turf Merchants Inc. (TMI) is retiring as president. Based in Tangent, Oregon, TMI is a developer, producer and marketer of turf grass seed for the United States, North America and more than 20 other countries. BUSINESS NEWS CIS Semillas and Gro Alliance enter a joint venture to offer seed nursery ser- vices in Chile. CIS Alliance combines the expertise of CIS Semillas and Gro Alliance to create a leader in contract nursery solu- tions for row crops, cereals, oilseeds and vegetables. CIS Alliance’s mission is to help enable the creation of the next gener- ation of hybrids and varieties that produce more output using fewer resources on less land. Its team of experienced breeders and technicians provide unique solutions and industry-leading communication to sup- port some of the world’s most advanced breeding programs. Monsanto Company and Pairwise Plants, an agricultural startup, have announced a collaboration to advance agriculture research and development by leveraging gene-editing technology. Under the agreement, Pairwise will work in corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and canola crops exclusively with Monsanto. The companies bring unparalleled expertise and comple- mentary intellectual property (IP) to a strategic alliance expected to drive new and needed solutions to help farmers pro- duce better harvests, protect crops from evolving threats, and conserve resources in the face of mounting environmental challenges. Under the companies’ collabo- ration and licensing agreement, Monsanto would contribute $100 million to access and develop Pairwise IP in row crop appli- cations, including an option to commercial- ize products resulting from the research collaboration.