The joint project of Belgian and Swedish scientists builds on accumulated experience on functional genomics of genes controlling growth in annual plants as well as trees. This partnership combines four important assets: the strong research on tree biology and genomics at UPSC; the excellent industrial tree biotechnology capabilities of SweTree Technologies; the world-leading expertise in plant growth and productivity of the research group of Dirk Inzé (VIB-UGent); and the outstanding expertise in bio-informatics and comparative genomics of the lab of Klaas Vandepoele (VIB-UGent).
In a first joint-research project, the researchers will test identified key genes for their growth and yield-promoting abilities in Arabidopsis, maize and poplar trees. VIB and UPSC will share all data and develop new bioinformatics tools to identify key conserved regulators of growth and wood formation. SweTree Technologies will contribute to the collaboration with its expertise in evaluating and testing trait genes, transformation of trees and knowledge from tree plantations. SweTree will also test the best lead genes in Eucalyptus.
“We are delighted by the collaboration with UPSC and VIB representing the scientific front line in functional genomics of genes controlling growth in trees and annual plants”, says Carl-Gustav Löf, CEO of SweTree Technologies. “With our joint efforts, we anticipate to take important steps towards significantly increasing the values of forestry plantations and agricultural crops.”
“This agreement will bring the UPSC and VIB research environments closer together, by exchanging researchers more frequently and by arranging joint scientific meetings”, says Ove Nilsson, director of UPSC. “We are very excited about this opportunity to deepen our scientific collaborations with the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, one of the strongest research environments in Europe for experimental plant research. We are especially excited about the possibilities to make cutting-edge comparative genomics analysis between Arabidopsis, maize and poplar trees.”
“My team is passionate about understanding plant growth and how this is controlled by both intrinsic development programs and environmental cues”, says Dirk Inzé. “By using the experimental advantages of both Arabidopsis and maize as model systems we have made remarkable progress in understanding plant growth and crop yield. And we’re just getting started.”
Ove Nilsson (Director UPSC) +46 70 286 9082, www.upsc.se
Dirk Inzé (Science director VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology) +32 477 695746, www.vib.be
Griet Verhaegen (Business Development Manager VIB) +32 477 61 07 72, www.vib.be
Carl-Gustav Löf (CEO SweTree Technologies) +46 70 609 95 10, www.swetree.com