Biotech Updates

Network of Plant Scientists to Help Improve Biotech Research Capacity Globally

August 17, 2022

The global capacity to produce plants using genetic engineering is critically short of demand. This is according to Joyce Van Eck, Associate Professor at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), who was recently awarded with a US$500,000 grant from the US National Science Foundation to start the Plant Genetic Engineering Network Research Coordination Network (PlantGENE).

As the world continues to face the challenges of rapidly increasing population and climate change, it is imperative to improve crops to feed the planet sustainably. Biotechnology has been one of the keys to crop improvement but this technology is facing a huge restriction—there is a lack of service providers to deliver biotech plants to the research community, and there is no sufficient number of scientists trained to engineer plants.

Realizing these concerns, Van Eck and colleagues started PlantGENE. PlantGENE is a network of plant biotechnologists that will work together to facilitate the sharing of technology, knowledge, and protocols. According to Van Eck, “PlantGENE will be a catalyst to bring groups together to tackle issues related to plant biotechnology and crop improvement…The network will help increase capacity for plant genetic engineering, coordinate facilities to work together, and train new scientists who can become experts in plant genetic engineering techniques.”

Read more details from BTI.

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