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Ceres Marks Milestone in Drought Trait Pipeline



  Ceres Marks Milestone in Drought Trait Pipeline

  * Field evaluations show double-digit percentage increases in yield under
    drought conditions.
  * Greater tolerance could enable greater productivity for drought-prone
    regions and greater resilience to the effects of climate change.
  * Ceres technology is expected to provide benefits across both energy and
    food crops.

Business Wire

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- January 8, 2013

Ceres, Inc. (Nasdaq: CERE) today announced that field trials conducted by
scientists in China have demonstrated that its portfolio of drought tolerance
genes provided significant improvements in yield protection in rice, which the
company routinely uses to confirm trait performance.

One of Ceres’ genes produced an average of 25 percent more grain than
experimental control plants and 20% more grain than rice plants containing a
recently deregulated biotech drought trait. Biomass production was improved by
20 percent over the same controls. In addition to greater yield stability
under drought conditions, some Ceres genes have also demonstrated yield
benefits under normal watering conditions.

Based on these results in rice, the company believes that drought genes
already in its pipeline could maintain 100 percent grain and biomass yields
under water deficits up to 30 percent, with the opportunity to further enhance
tolerance by combining, or stacking, drought genes together. According to
published reports, the first commercial biotech drought trait as well as
drought traits developed by plant breeding alone have provided only modest
(<10%) yield protection.

Ceres will proceed with additional testing and continue to move its traits
into its energy crops as well as row crops. About 80 percent of agricultural
land in the U.S. experienced drought last season, making the 2012 drought more
extensive than any drought since the 1950s, according to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture. U.S. corn production, for instance, was down four billion
bushels to 10.7 billion bushels from early-season projections of 14.8 billion
– a loss of $25 billion based on season-average corn prices for the 2011/12
marketing year.

“Water availability is a fundamental limitation on crop yields. Our drought
traits could provide greater yield stability, and in many cases, make cropping
less intense in areas where water supplies are limited or being depleted,”
said Richard Hamilton, President and CEO. “In row crops, this means greater
food security, and greater resilience to the effects of climate change. For
energy crops, this means making greater use of marginal, low-rent land. This
work is made all the more important as U.S. growers faced the most severe and
extensive drought in at least 25 years.”

Roger Pennell, PhD., Vice President of Trait Development, explained that
Ceres’ drought tolerance genes function differently from one another in the
plant. Some of the genes allow plants to utilize water more efficiently,
whereas others are able to allow plants to more readily uptake water or reduce
water loss. Stacking genes with different modes of actions could therefore add
these functions together and make plants even more productive and resistant to
stress, he believes.

Pennell credits the company’s success in trait development to its early
achievements in plant genomics – identifying and evaluating thousands of genes
– and its novel two-species evaluation system. By selecting genes that perform
similarly across two genetically distant plant types, Ceres has identified
superior genes and validated their performance among hundreds of candidate
genes. The company is now demonstrating their impact in other plant species.

“Our gene advancement and development system has been proven to be very
successful in predicting performance in other grass crops like our sorghum and
switchgrass,” Pennell said. Based on the company’s experience in multiple
species, he believes that step increases in performance can be demonstrated in
other commercial crops as well. “By combining our drought tolerance genes, I
believe we can test the upper limits of drought tolerance achievable in
numerous commercial crops.”

Ceres’ results are based on averaged grain and biomass yields across
replicated field tests which were repeated in different climates under drought
conditions. The company cautioned that results from a research setting are not
a guarantee of commercial performance, and further evaluations are required to
confirm results.

ABOUT CERES

Ceres is an agricultural biotechnology company that markets seeds for energy
crops used in the production of renewable transportation fuels, electricity
and bio-based products. The company combines advanced plant breeding and
biotechnology to develop products that can address the limitations of
first-generation bioenergy feedstocks, increase biomass productivity, reduce
inputs and improve cultivation on marginal land. Its development activities
include sweet sorghum, high-biomass sorghum, switchgrass and miscanthus.

CERES FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release may contain forward-looking statements. All statements,
other than statements of historical facts, including statements regarding our
efforts to develop and commercialize our products, our short-term and
long-term business strategies, market and industry expectations, future
operating metrics, product yields and future results of operations and
financial position, are forward-looking statements. You should not place undue
reliance on these forward-looking statements because they involve known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond
our control. Factors that could materially affect actual results can be found
in Ceres’ filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Ceres
undertakes no intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as
representing Ceres’ views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press
release.

Contact:

Ceres, Inc.
Gary Koppenjan, 805-376-6546
mediaoffice@ceres.net
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