Eagle Genomics Ltd has signed a collaboration agreement with the horticultural research institute the John Innes Centre. The collaboration will establish a commercial service for a new plant breeding research technology, TraitTag.
The aim is to apply genetic biomarkers to plant breeding. The genetic variations between individual plants can be used to allow plant breeders to test for the presence of positive traits when selecting specimens to breed. TraitTag allows breeders to identify these biomarkers quickly and effectively through the identification and scoring of variations across very large sets of plants.
The key advantage of TraitTag is that it does not require a full reference genome of the plant. This enables plant breeders to use it even when no prior major research has been done into the genome of the plant species they are working with.
With TraitTag, plant breeders can select and breed bigger, better, higher quality plants in less time and at lower cost than previously possible. This leads directly to improvements in quality and yield of all kinds of plants including food crops.
The collaboration between Eagle Genomics and the John Innes Centre will look into the options for offering TraitTag as a commercial service to plant breeders worldwide. Eagle's expertise in bioinformatics software development will be applied to develop and improve the TraitTag software, to withstand the demands of large-scale commercial use, while the John Innes Centre will continue to review and refine the underlying techniques to continually improve the service. Revenue from commercial sales will be shared.