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NRGene Forges Collaborations With Illumina, Monsanto on Ag-Bio Tech

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – NRGene announced today that it will collaborate with Illumina and Monsanto on agriculture projects using its genome assembly and analysis technologies.

NRGene will work with Illumina to sequence and assemble the genomes of different cattle breeds in order to better understand genetic variation across all breeds, and to advance development of new commercial tools that can be used for genomic selection and other genomic technologies in cattle.

Illumina and NRGene have been working together on various projects for some time and have already completed a high-quality genome assembly of the Nellore cattle in collaboration with researchers at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil. The companies also teamed up a year ago to co-market NRGene's de novo assembly informatics technology DeNovoMagic with Illumina's sequencers.

"We look forward to this next phase of our strategic collaboration with NRGene to accelerate global cattle breeding efforts through additional sequencing studies and, ultimately, the commercialization of improved genomic selection tools," Rob Brainin, vice president and general manager of applied genomics at Illumina, said in a statement. "Our greatly expanding understanding of the bovine genome will support numerous breeding programs worldwide, helping to improve production and consumer traits, as well as to address global demand for safe, nutritious, healthy protein products."

Monsanto, meanwhile, has taken a non-exclusive, multi-year license to use NRGene's GenoMagic genome analysis platform to analyze, store, and mine its plant genome datasets in order to improve genome selection, trait discovery, and genome enhancement.

"Monsanto employs best-in-class data analytics technologies to help unlock the genetic potential of our research and development pipeline for our farmer customers," Tom Osborn, molecular breeding technology director at Monsanto, said in a statement. "Our focus on data is allowing us make better decisions than ever before, and with GenoMagic we expect to provide our plant breeders with a more comprehensive view to improve their analyses and decisions."

Further terms were not disclosed for either collaboration.