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Companies reach milestone in CLEARFIELD System

BASF and Cibus announced they have reached a significant research milestone for developing CLEARFIELD Production System plants in Brassica winter oilseed rape and in spring canola. Cibus' patented Rapid Trait Development System (RTDS) was used to enhance the tolerance levels of spring canola plants to BASF's popular CLEARFIELD herbicides. Data from both greenhouse and field trials show the new generation of products demonstrates enhanced tolerance levels to CLEARFIELD herbicides. Additionally, the new and improved CLEARFIELD traits will enable canola breeders to develop high yielding hybrids more quickly with greater efficiencies.

BASF worked with Cibus to develop seeds using Cibus' RTDS technology to target a specific trait not previously achieved with other technologies. As a result of the development of this new proprietary herbicide tolerant trait using the RTDS process, seed companies will be able to put this unique trait into hybrids more efficiently, leading to increased on-farm yields.

Production improvements are beneficial for both farmers and seed company producers, and this novel development will enable a more cost effective hybrid development program to provide farmers with higher yielding, superior performing hybrids for the CLEARFIELD Production System in oilseed rape and canola. BASF anticipates commercializing the new trait as early as 2013.

Cibus' proprietary gene conversion technology, RTDS, enables trait development that is quicker to market with less regulatory expense. RTDS technology is a non-transgenic approach for providing plant improvements as compared to classical genetic transformation. RTDS technology produces changes within a plant species that could only occur in nature, but does so in a directed way. Thanks in part to recent developments in genome mapping, RTDS is significantly more precise and much faster than conventional plant breeding in the process of new trait development in plants. RTDS, known as directed mutagenesis, works through the cell's natural process of gene repair. Every time a cell copies DNA, it makes "scrivener" errors or spelling mistakes. These variations happen all the time, which is how natural variation occurs. Cibus' technology harnesses the cell's own natural DNA repair machinery to correct such spelling mistakes, thus directing DNA repair enzymes to correct and repair the targeted gene in a specific way in order to produce a desired trait. This very precise process is similar to altering a single letter in a word contained within a large book.

BASF's flagship brand in herbicide tolerance weed control, the CLEARFIELD Production System, matches agronomically advanced seed varieties with custom-designed imidazolinone herbicides that provide extended grass and broadleaf weed control to the farmer.

"This innovative new technology adds further confirmation that valuable traits can be developed in plants without the insertion of foreign DNA into plants. This is a milestone development for Cibus and BASF," said Cibus Chairman Stephen Evans-Freke. "RTDS technology has broad applications to develop traits in many different types of plant species. The RTDS technology is very precise, allowing companies such as BASF to bring their improved products or traits to market quicker and at lower costs compared to other technologies. Cibus is committed to developing other non-transgenic traits for agriculture."

For more information, or visit www.agro.basf.com, or www.cibus.com.

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