New platform enables advanced collection, storage and integrated analysis of phenotypic data directly from field trials surveillance
Rehovot, Israel – November 14, 2012 – Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN), a leading developer of improved plant traits for the food, feed and biofuel industries, announced today the launch of its Phenomix platform. The new platform utilizes advanced proprietary technologies for the collection, storage and integrated analysis of vast amounts of phenotypic data directly from the field. Through the use of Phenomix, Evogene researchers can evaluate crop behavior in environments closely resembling growth conditions existing in commercial agriculture.
The two key data types utilized by Evogene’s infrastructure for improving plant traits are phenotypic data, that is plant observable characteristics such as morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties and genotypic data, that is related to the plant’s internal biological mechanisms. Evogene currently has one of the world’s largest, and continuously increasing, proprietary databases of integrated genomic data from multiple crops. Now with Phenomix, this critical resource is being augmented with vast amounts of fully annotated phenotypic data. More importantly, such phenotypic data is being obtained from crops in the field, mimicking actual commercial growth conditions, and not from controlled greenhouses as is typically the case in agbio research.
Since Evogene’s gene discovery capabilities rely on the integration and advanced analysis of genotypic and phenotypic data by the Company’s computational technology platforms, such as ATHLETE™ and EvoBreed™, the addition of the Phenomix data is anticipated to significantly enhance the Company’s world leading agbio gene discovery capabilities, allowing even more precise prediction of the effect and level of compatibility of candidate genes under multiple field conditions.
Phenomix provides a direct field –to– computer research communication channel which constantly streams physiological, structural and environmental data inputs from the field. The platform integrates a large number of modified sensors, digital imaging and other devices, previously in general used only as stand-alone units in confined greenhouse environments, and makes them usable in open field conditions. The resulting vast amount of data, from both ground level and from the air, is stored, analyzed and correlated with genotypic data through Evogene’s computational technology platforms, such as ATHLETE™ and EvoBreed™, providing both summaries of the raw data and its analysis in real time to the researcher.
The Phenomix platform was recently successfully validated in an Evogene 18 acre field trial of various wheat varieties, demonstrating reliability and completeness of data, reduction of errors and the ability of the researcher to evaluate field experiment progress in real-time. This one field trial involved collection of more than one million high quality phenotypic data points, such as various physical characteristics, growth rate and yield by individual plant. Following this success, the Phenomix platform is now being routinely implemented in all Evogene field trials, further demonstrating its built-in flexibility to adjust to different crops, traits and field locations.
“It is well appreciated in the industry that phenotypic data from the field is far more meaningful and valuable for research than data from artificial greenhouse conditions”, stated Assaf Kacen, Evogene’s EVP Technology Platform. “The development of the Phenomix platform is also a good example of how our constantly improving and expanding internal technological capabilities can complement one another, providing key components for further enhancement of our overall agbio discovery infrastructure.”
Ofer Haviv, Evogene’s President and CEO added, “Phenomix is an important addition to Evogene’s unique agbio discovery infrastructure combining state of the art computational platforms, high-quality data and plant scientific know-how. It is this infrastructure that is now allowing us to pursue, in collaboration with leading agbio companies worldwide, our mission to address the global demand for food, feed & fuel through improved plant performance.”
Evogene is a world leading developer of improved plant traits, such as yield and drought tolerance, for a wide diversity of key crops through the use of plant genomics. The company focuses on utilizing its proprietary computational genomic technologies to provide a complete solution for plant trait improvement through combining state of the art biotechnology and advanced breeding methods. Evogene is collaborating with world leading seed companies to introduce its improved plant traits into key commercial crops under milestone and royalty bearing agreements. Evogene’s headquarters are in Rehovot, Israel, and its stock is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE: EVGN). For additional information, please visit Evogene’s website at www.evogene.com
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” relating to future events. These statements may be identified by words such as “may”, “expects”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “believes”, “scheduled”, “estimates” or words of similar meaning. Such statements are based on current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions, describe opinions about future events, involve certain risks and uncertainties which are difficult to predict and are not guarantees of future performance. Therefore, actual future results, performance or achievements of Evogene may differ materially from what is expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, many of which beyond Evogene’s control, including, without limitation, those risk factors contained in Evogene’s reports filed with the Israeli Securities Authority. Evogene disclaims any obligation or commitment to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or developments or changes in expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions.
Efrat Barak Zadok