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Evogene Announces Launch of ATHLETE™ 4.0 Gene Discovery Computational Technology

Enhanced version of Evogene’s world leading plant gene discovery technology integrates new data types and proprietary computational tools and algorithms

Rehovot, Israel – April 4, 2012 – Evogene Ltd. (TASE: EVGN) announced today the launch of ATHLETE™ 4.0, a new version of its technology for discovery of novel genes for improving plant performances. To date, Evogene has discovered through earlier versions of the ATHLETE™ and validated in plants over 3,000 novel genes relating to key plant traits, such as yield, drought tolerance, fertilizer utilization and plant disease resistance. Patents have been filed or granted with respect to all of these discoveries.

The new ATHLETE™ 4.0 relies on a series of proprietary tools and algorithms, which substantially accelerate Evogene’s gene discovery capabilities by integrating multiple levels of plant data types. ATHLETE™ 4.0 incorporates genomic data from over 200 plant species and more than 4,000,000 genes, thus enabling a more comprehensive and accurate cross-species discovery capabilities. As with previous versions of ATHLETE™, this version utilizes Evogene’s powerful Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, which has been built to support one of the largest agbio-data sets worldwide.

Among the new version’s proprietary capabilities:

  • EvoCAT – ATHLETE™ 0 incorporates an enhanced version of Evogene’s innovative technology for gene clustering and sequencing assembly, EvoCAT (Evogene Clustering & Assembly Toolbox). This new version of EvoCAT improves Evogene’s ability to integrate sequence data from ‘next generation’ sequencing platforms, which produce huge amounts of sequence data in short DNA sequence fragments )one-tenth the length of previously available data(, representing a major challenge for gene clustering and assembly. To address this challenge the new version of EvoCAT can analyze up to 1,000 times more such sequences.
  • eTrait – ATHLETE™0 incorporates a new version of eTrait – a platform for phenotypic data storage and analysis. This new version represents an additional step towards Evogene’s goal to capture accurate, computerized phenotypes directly from the field. The phenotypic data includes numerous plant quantifiable traits, such as leaf color, number of leaves and stem length, which are stored in the platform in a uniform and systematic manner according to the season, plant species, etc. This provides a high level of compatibility data for statistical analysis. The outcome is improved ability to identify which genomic components contribute most to trait improvement and, by the cross analysis of phenotypic data with genomic data, more accurate and rapid discovery of genes.
  • Proteomics – ATHLETE™ 0 incorporates additional proteomics data, which provides more accurate information about the conditions and quantities of the various proteins produced in the plant.

Dr. Hagai Karchi, Evogene’s EVP Development and CTO, stated: “ATHLETE™ 4.0 provides us with an even more powerful engine to gain valuable knowledge from the enormous amounts of data, both being generated from our field experiments and data becoming publicly available, in order to perform targeted gene discovery and provide our existing and future partners with high quality genes to improve desired plant traits. As a leading company in our field, a key objective being pursued by our scientists – in parallel with their efforts pursuant to our various collaborations with major seed companies – is to continue to invest both in improvements to our broad range of existing capabilities and in new capabilities. The launch of ATHLETE™ 4.0 is an excellent example of our success with respect to this objective since this next generation platform contains a significant number of new and improved proprietary technologies.”


ATHLETE™ is Evogene’s proprietary computational technology for plant gene discovery.  ATHLETE™ is designed for addressing Evogene’s evolving requirements and capacity for gene discovery, thus taking advantage of the data explosion of the ‘omics’ era for the development of improved seeds and plants. The ATHLETE™ is comprised of proprietary algorithmic tools and data mining concepts, resulting in the discovery of a rapid and reliable list of genes relevant to each target trait. The technology is broadly applicable to different traits and crops, according to the needs of our various internal programs and partnerships. Additional  information regarding ATHLETE™ is available  at

About Evogene

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

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.

Contact Information 


Liat Cinamon

Director of IR&PR


Tel: +972-8-931-1933