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UK, India to Fund up to $15M in Crop Genomics Projects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The UK and India governments each plan to use up to £5 million ($7.8 million) to fund research projects that use genomics and bioinformatics technologies to improve the breeding of crops that are important to future food security.

The UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council said today that it will partner with India's Department of Biotechnology to fund the research, which will apply next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, high-throughput chemical profiling, genetic diversity resources, and other genome-based technologies that harness both countries' research strengths.

Researchers will focus on crops such as wheat, plants in the brassica or mustard family, including cruciferous vegetables, and solanaceae plants like the tomato, potato, and eggplant.

The UK and India view genomics technologies as offering a key opportunity to improve crop characteristics and address food security goals of growing more safe and nutritious food with lower inputs of water and fertilizer, BBSRC said in a funding call today.

Researchers funded under this joint call will be expected to work with collaborators in cross-national teams in both the UK and India, although projects led by UK scientists will be funded by the BBSRC and India-based researchers will be supported by the DBT.

BBSRC and DBT also hope that this investment will strengthen and diversify their portfolios in crop-related genomics and bioinformatics technologies.