70 / SEEDWORLD.COM JUNE 2018 Plant researchers from Julius-Maximilians- Universität Würzburg are studying what makes cereal crops more stress-tolerant than other crops. Scientists discovered that this difference can be attributed to the protein SLAC1 of the guard cells. Just two amino acids are responsible for the plant’s drought tolerance. An interdisciplinary team of Iowa State University scientists developed an automated machine- learning framework to find patterns in the soybean leaf images that correlate with eight common sources of stress, such as disease, nutrient deficiency and herbicide injury. The result is a computer application that can diagnose and quantify the amount of various foliar stresses by analyzing digital images. A new study has isolated a gene controlling the shape and size of spikelets in wheat, a breakthrough that could help breeders increase yield. The team from the John Innes Center say the underlying genetic mechanism they found is also relevant to inflorescence (floral) architecture in other major cereals including corn, barley and rice. The findings were published in the journal “The Plant Cell.” INDUSTRY NEWS Delivering the people, industry, business and product news you need to know. Submissions are welcome. Email us at news@issuesink.com. A new study by University of Hertfordshire researchers discovered that phoma stem canker, a source of gene resistance against one of the leading pathogens of oilseed rape, is becoming less effective. This could lead to substantial losses to the oilseed rape breeding industry. This is the first study showing that the host resistant gene Rlm7 has become less effective at controlling Leptosphaeria maculans. Scientists at the University of Missouri mapped additional soybean genomes, which could help breeders fight disease and other challenges. For nearly a decade, only one soybean cultivar, “Williams 82,” had been sequenced, but scientists led by Henry Nguyen have now succeeded in mapping two more. A joint study by Exeter University, Rothamsted Research and Bayer has discovered enzymes in honeybees and bumble bees that determine how sensitive they are to different neonicotinoid insecticides. The researchers carried out the most comprehensive analysis of bee P450 detoxification enzymes ever conducted. The study identified one subfamily 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. Novel technologies are being sought to replace the traditional pesticides used to protect plants, particularly edible plants such as cereals. A collaborative project between the University of Helsinki and the French National Center for Scientific Research sheds light on the efficacy of environmentally friendly RNA-based vaccines that protect plants from diseases and pests. BUSINESS NEWS For Bayer to continue its acquisition of Monsanto, it has signed an agreement to sell further Crop Science businesses to BASF for about $2.1 billion. The businesses being divested include the global vegetable seeds business, certain seed treatment products, the research platform for wheat hybrids and certain glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe. In addition, three research projects in the field of total herbicides and Bayer’s digital farming business will also be transferred. Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, announced its new, U.S. focused multi- channel, multi-brand seed strategy, which will expand access to its genetics, technology and traits across agriculture distribution channels including agency, direct, retail, distribution and licensing. The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, adds five partners to its Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform. The new partners are AgWorks, DroneDeploy, MyAgData, Sentera and Skymatics.