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“Creating better gene expression in crops”

Annogen, the Amsterdam based biotech company behind the SuRE technology, and KeyGene, the Wageningen based research company developing innovative technologies for crop improvement, are to collaborate in identifying non-coding DNA fragments in plants’ genomes that influence the expression of important crop traits. This will open new possibilities to intentionally upregulate or downregulate the expression of important genes in crops.

Plant traits are encoded by genes. Genes are accompanied by a promotor, the DNA that generally controls where and to what extent genes are expressed. Genes important for flowering are thus active in flowers, whereas genes coding for resistance against leaf-killing fungi are mainly active in leaves.

The part of plants’ genomes that do not harbor genes is often referred to as the ‘non-coding DNA’. Promoters are an example of such non-coding DNA, but research shows that beyond promoters small non-coding regions occur that may also strongly influence the expression of genes. Nevertheless, research into gene expression in plants till now mainly focused on promotors and genes.

Scientists at KeyGene develop new technologies for plant breeding. That is why they are very much interested in the possibilities non-coding DNA technologies can offer to improve plant breeding. Joris van Arensbergen, founder and CEO, is very enthusiastic about the new collaboration. “KeyGene is well known for its contributions to innovate plant breeding. While Annogen has its primary focus on medical applications like cell therapy and drug discovery, it has already established the applicability of its SuRE™ technology in animals and plants. We are very excited to now further demonstrate how our SuRE can contribute to crop improvement through this collaboration,” said Van Arensbergen.

At KeyGene, having strong expertise and track record in plant genomics, from unique DNA isolation protocols to powerful data visualization and management tools, studying non-coding DNA is seen as a promising next level. “Employing knowledge about non-coding DNA and about available and induced genetic variation in this part of plants’ DNA, may well lead to breakthrough technologies for crop improvement,” said Arjen van Tunen, co-CEO of KeyGene.

The pictures above are an example of how a changed gene expression can work. Both tomato plants have the same gene for flower color. But in the plant with the bright yellow flower (left), the gene is better expressed, more active, than in the plant with the pale flowers. For many genes, higher expression could be desirable in crops. KeyGene wants to better understand how gene expression can be influenced. Annogen’s SuRE technology is one of the tools that KeyGene scientists will use in their research. They develop technologies that can help plant breeders to use this knowledge in their breeding programs.

For more information:
KeyGene Netherlands
Agro Business Park 90
6708 PW Wageningen
The Netherlands

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Israel announces creation of global seed company

Two Israeli seed producers, Nirit Seeds and TomaTech, have joined forces to create Israel’s largest vegetable seed company. This synergy will enable unique seed breeding research and development that will accelerate the company’s growth in the international seed markets.

Upon completion of the merger, the company will have more than 80 employees worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, agronomists, and others.
The company will improve its breeding activities in Israel, Spain, Mexico and Italy, as well as significantly expand its representation in the Netherlands and North America, with a particular focus on growing vegetables in high-tech greenhouses.

Nirit Seeds is one of the most successful internationally traded tomato and pepper seed producers, investing in the development of revolutionary genetic technologies. TomaTech is one of the leading tomato seed companies in Israel, developing premium varieties, including those resistant to the dangerous Tomato Brown Ruffle Virus (ToBRFV).

The production of crop seeds is one of the most advanced and high-tech sectors in Israel. According to the Seed Department of the Federation of Israel Chambers of Commerce, seed exports currently generate $200 million in annual revenue. There are about 25 large and medium-sized companies in the local industry.

For reference. According to market research, the global vegetable seed industry is valued at $8 billion a year and is growing at a CAGR of 8%.

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Karachay-Cherkessia became one of the leaders in the production of greenhouse vegetables at the end of 2021


Greenhouse vegetable production in 2021 reached a record 1.4 million tonnes. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the leaders among the regions in this segment are the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Lipetsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Saratov, Chelyabinsk regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, the Republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. These regions account for more than 60% of the total production in the country. The intensive development of greenhouse projects in our country helps to provide Russians with fresh vegetables all year round. Last year, the harvest in winter greenhouses updated the 2020 record – more than 1.4 million tons of products were received. Including the production of cucumbers amounted to at least 830 thousand tons, and tomatoes – 590 thousand tons. It is expected that by 2025 the volume of vegetable production in year-round greenhouses will be at least 1.6 million tons of vegetables.


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December: Special Year Overview

In 2022, it will be 22 year since the new millennium started. Can’t believe it? Neither can we, but it is true. Before we go there, it is time to reflect on what has happened this year. Over the next couple of weeks, we will look back at 2021 and we will highlight the most important events that impacted the industry.

New greenhouses, events, even a few shows, technical novelties, and all other relevant news will pass by, offering you something other than Covid to talk about during Christmas and New Years’.


Wish your customers Happy Holidays
This special also offers an opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with a banner in this special box. This banner can be booked until December 24 on our newsletters. For more information, feel free to send an email to: 

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