The six-year-old company, which was spun out of research at Duke University, is focused on discovering genes that can improve crop performance. Since 2009, Monsanto and GrassRoots have had a technology alliance and license agreement aimed at “discovering novel genetic elements including promoters and genes, which can enable crops to express traits that enhance and protect yields,” according to Monsanto’s website. Promoters are part of DNA that determine when and where a trait is expressed.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a statement, Monsanto officials said, “After a successful multi-year collaboration, GrassRoots Biotechnology Inc. has become part of Monsanto Company. GrassRoots focuses on gene expression and other agricultural technologies that are complementary to Monsanto’s biotechnology research and development work.”