DuPont to Collaborate with Research Organizations to Solve the Drought Challenges

DuPont News, January 13, 2012


John Soper
John Soper

Yesterday, DuPont announced that it had joined the DROught-Tolerant Plants (DROPS) Research Consortium, contributing expertise and a state-of-the-art modeling platform for maize research.

DROPS, a European Commission-sponsored consortium, is developing novel tools and breeding strategies that advance drought-tolerance research in maize and other crop plants. As a member, DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred will share expertise in drought research to help bring solutions for drought tolerance faster through science.

“Drought is a universal challenge that must be addressed to feed a hungry planet. It will take many of us working together in collaborations, like DROPS, to bring farmers solutions for combating drought globally,” said John Soper, vice president, Pioneer Crop Genetics Research and Development. “Innovations developed through this collaboration will complement our own research program, which has been providing solutions for farmers for more than 80 years.”

Water is the single largest input to agriculture, with irrigation estimated to account for 70% of the total use of fresh water. Drought tolerance is a complex issue, involving many genes with overlapping/interacting effects. Because of the complexity, field testing can be costly and time consuming. Modeling tools such as this platform are helping to improve the efficiency and to shorten the timelines for analysis and crop development.

The Pioneer maize crop modeling platform was developed through a long-term collaboration between Pioneer and researchers at the University of Queensland. “The modeling capability is state-of-the-art and incorporates the most recent understanding of crop responses to drought,” said Prof. Graeme Hammer, leader of the University of Queensland team, and DROPS consortium member. “Pioneer scientists will work together with consortium scientists to improve the modeling platform so that it can accept even more traits, thereby increasing the precision and accuracy of the platform.”

The DROPS Consortium was initiated by the Institut National de la Recherché Agronomique (INRA) of France through project leader Francois Tardieu. Pioneer is the only U.S.-based member of the European-led consortium.

View the news release.