French biotech company Meiogenix has formed a partnership with German chemicals giant Bayer to advance the development of plant breeding and genome editing technologies.

Speaking about the new partnership, Jeremy Williams, head of plant biotechnology, crop science research and development at Bayer, said: “Access to Meiogenix’s proprietary technologies could improve the precision and speed with which our breeders enhance crops.”

And Luc Mathis, strategic advisor of Meiogenix, said: “Agriculture is facing the challenge of adjusting plant physiology to rapid climate, pest and disease changes, as well as preparing the next generation of healthier food.

“Collaborating on these new breeding technologies will be key to bringing innovative solutions to farmers and consumers.”

As part of the new project, Meiogenix will collaborate with top academic institutes to advance these technologies in crops.

Meiogenix said its proprietary technology was used to induce the exchange of genomic regions between chromosomes of plant cells during meiosis, the process that generated genetic diversity during plant breeding. Meiotic recombination provided commercial crops with access to broader genetic diversity, including complex traits for improved food quality, plants’ resistance to disease and pests, and higher yield potential, it added.

Bayer is currently facing around 42,700 lawsuits in the USA claiming that its glyphosate-based pesticide, Roundup, causes cancer.