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Israeli Company Rosetta Green develops technology to grow crops with seawater

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           --  The experiment tested a specific microRNA gene that was identified in

              corn and soybean, and confirmed the potential to develop plants capable

              of withstanding intermittent irrigation with seawater and growth in high

              salinity soils

          --  During the experiment, plants were intermittently irrigated with salt

              water with three times the salinity level of seawater

          --  Rosetta Green has previously demonstrated that microRNA genes are

              capable of improving plants under extreme drought conditions

REHOVOT, Israel, Jan. 10, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Israeli agro-biotechnology company Rosetta Green, which develops improved crops for the agriculture industry, reports successful experimental results in which plants were grown using seawater irrigation. The experiment was conducted on tobacco plants which are used as model plants for corn and soybean. The plants that were improved by a microRNA gene were found to have an enormous potential to grow under irrigation with seawater.

In the said experiment, which took place in recent months in Rosetta Green's controlled and unique growth rooms in Rehovot, the effect of the microRNA gene was tested on tobacco plants under conditions of seawater irrigation. For that purpose, plants that were improved by this microRNA gene and control plants that did not undergo such improvement were irrigated with salt water with triple the salinity level of seawater. Subsequently, both plant groups were put back on a normal irrigation regime. However, only improved plants were able to recover and continued to grow while control plants completely wilted.

Corn and soybean are among the best sold crops in the food and alternative fuel industries. In addition to the vast commercial value inherent in microRNA genes, this achievement is a significant milestone for Rosetta Green. These results validate its computational and biological platforms which are used to identify and implement microRNA genes, and of its capability to predict and discover genes affecting key traits in the agro-biotechnology world.

Rosetta Green continues its efforts to constantly develop new plant varieties resistant to harsh climate conditions, and believes that this year it will continue to test numerous genes in plants in order to develop varieties resistant to drought and with an increased yield. The company anticipates collaborations with industrial partners and gene validations in additional field crops.

According to the company's CEO Amir Avniel, "The frequent droughts afflicting the world in recent years and the motivation to expand to arid lands containing brackish water, require the development of plant varieties resistant to drought and irrigation with salt water. Rosetta Green is making great effort towards this end using the innovative technologies we have developed. This experiment is another step in the company's progress towards production of improved plants that will provide farmers with excellent yield even in drought conditions, and allow the growth of crops in wide areas that are currently unsuitable, due to soil salinity and weather conditions."

The company's CTO, Rudy Maor said that, "The extreme conditions under which the experiment was conducted reinforce the importance of these genes and their advantage over other techniques used to improve plants. Agricultural areas constitute only about 10% of global land area1 and the development of advanced technologies that may render plants capable of growth in additional areas, such as deserts, is critical for food supply to the ever growing world population."

About Rosetta Green

Rosetta Green (tase:RSTG) is an Israeli agro-biotechnology company specializing in developing improved plants to the agriculture industry using the unique technology of microRNA genes. The company has developed technological platforms for the identification and utilization of microRNAs. These microRNA genes possess the potential to improve key traits in important plants such as corn, wheat, rice, soybean, and more. Rosetta Green's product development pipeline already consists of plants with improved traits including drought tolerance, increased yield production, disease resistance and more. For additional information please visit Rosetta Green's website at: www.rosettagreen.com