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Nov 4, 2010

GM Mosquito Research Continues With New Partnership Between Bayer Crop Science and U.S. University Researchers

New GM mosquito research will be conducted under a research agreement signed between German based Bayer CropScience, SentiSearch Inc. and university researchers affiliated with Columbia University and Rockefeller University.  The agreement signed on 4 November 2010 runs for two years.  Its purpose is to identify new molecules targeting odorant receptors in insects in an effort to control mosquitoes that spread malaria and dengue fever.  

The only financial terms disclosed were that SentiSearch would receive an upfront license fee, followed by milestone payments and royalties on sales.  Bayer CropScience contributes its expertise in compounds, screening capabilities and its experience in chemical synthesis and the development of insecticides. University researchers provide proprietary assay technologies and knowledge in the field of insect chemoreception.

There is a potential that this research will identify valuable information on how insect receptors enable the destruction of agricultural crops.  In future applications, Bayer CropScience control any intellectual research related to how this could be developed for agricultural applications.

Dr. Richard Axel
won the 2004 Nobel Prize Laureate in
Physiology of Medicine is working
with Bayer CropScience and SentiSearch
on GM mosquitoes
and chemosensory receptors
Groundbreaking work on insect receptors has been undertaken by Drs. Richard Axel and Leslie Vosshall, who discovered chemosensory receptors that are responsible for odor perception.  In 2004, Professor Axel was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine for his groundbreaking studies on olfactory perception.   In simple terms, insects are guided by their sense of smell, which allows them to identify food, humans, animals, and mating partners.   Mosquitoes used CO2 to identify humans and other hosts.  If researchers can block these CO2 sensing receptors, they could reduce the transmission of diseases spread by mosquitoes.  

Under this new licensing agreement, Bayer CropScience will work with Nobel Laureate Professor Richard Axel from Columbia University and Professor Leslie Vosshall from Rockefeller University.  A portion of this research will also be funded by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health through the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative

For more see: 

Bayer CropScience, SentiSearch and leading US Universities enter research cooperation, Bayer CropScience Press Release, 4 November 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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