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Wageningen UR, KeyGene Launch Next-Gen Sequencing R&D Facility

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Wageningen University and Research center and KeyGene today launched a research and development facility equipped with next-generation sequencing platforms for research into agricultural breeding.

The facility will be equipped with an Illumina HiSeq 2000 system and a Pacific Biosciences RS platform, as well as accompanying ICT and bioinformatics infrastructure and is being funded with a €1.7 million ($2.3 million) investment and support from the CAT-Agrofood of Wageningen UR, an initiative of the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture & Innovation, the Province of Gelderland, and Wageningen UR.

According to Wageningen and KeyGene, both based in Wageningen, The Netherlands, the new space will allow their researchers to perform genomics research using samples from microbial, plant, animal, and human origins. Research will be conducted in the facility but "executed by either KeyGene or Wageningen UR in a bilateral way with each customer," they said.

In addition to Wageningen and KeyGene researchers, other parties — such as breeding companies, universities, and hospitals — will have access to the new facility.

"Plant breeding has already allowed for a dramatic increase in yield and quality during the past one hundred years," Andries Koops, business unit manager at Wageningen, said in a statement. "We will use the facility to further speed up this improvement, in order to help the world cope with the growing world population and climate change."

Michiel van Eijk, vice president of technology and trait mechanisms for KeyGene, added that the facility will allow the company to apply its proprietary high-throughput sequencing-based applications, including the Whole Genome Profiling physical mapping methodology, the KeyPoint mutation detection method, the Crops SNP identification method, and the sequence-based genotyping technology.

KeyGene plans to launch the products to customers in the plant breeding industry, he said.