Monsanto announced Feb. 20 that it will provide academic researchers and public institutions free access to its state-of-the-art cyst nematode marker technology. Scientists and soybean breeders are expected to use this technology to effectively develop new soybean varieties aimed at resisting the yield-robbing pest soybean cyst nematode.

"During the past seven years we have been investigating ways to identify soybean cyst nematode resistant traits in soybeans using genetic markers. By sharing what we know, researchers around the world will be able to more accurately identify resistant soybeans and breed for them,” says Bob Reiter, vice president of Breeding Technology for Monsanto.

According to USDA, soybean cyst nematode has threatened the U.S. crop since the 1950s, reducing returns to soybean producers by $500 million each year and yields by as much as 75%. “Now that this genetic marker technology is broadly available, we hope it will spur more research in the area of cyst nematode resistance and benefit the U.S. soybean industry and soybean farmers,” Reiter says. “This announcement represents an example of the Monsanto Pledge, in which we commit to share our knowledge and technology

Academic researchers and public institutions who request access will be given a royalty-free license for using the rhg1 marker under a patent that was granted to Monsanto in December 2006 (Hauge et al., U.S. Patent No. 7,154,021). Researchers are encouraged to contact Connie Armentrout with Monsanto’s technology alliances team at (314) 694-5898 or connie.m.armentrout@monsanto.com for information regarding how to obtain a license or gain access to this technology.