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BBSRC Leads Public-Private $9M Agricultural Genetics Effort

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The British Biological Sciences Research Council has agreed to partner with the Scottish Government and a group of 13 companies that will work together and fund research into genetic and environmental factors that affect agricultural yield and quality.

The BBSRC, Scotland, and the Crop Improvement Research Club (CIRC) have agreed to contribute £6M ($9.1 million) to studies aimed at generating knowledge to improve oilseed rape, barley, and wheat for human and animal consumption.

CIRC specifically seeks to study ways to increase the efficiency of plant nutrient use, discover more about seed structure, and better understand germination and factors that lead to crop spoilage.

"Delivering food security is going to require partnership between public research funders and the private sector R&D," BBSRC's Director of Innovation and Skills, Celia Caulcott, said in a statement. "There is huge potential to improve key UK crops to benefit farmers and consumers," including the potential to increase crop volume and nutritional quality and reduce losses to pests and disease, she added.

Among the members of CIRC are BASF Plant Science, Monsanto, Syngenta, and others.