How genomics is bringing transparency to the world of breeding

Being involved in the world of genomics, Gil Ronen works with technologies that open up an entirely new world for plant breeders. That really became evident to him in 2015 when NRGene, a company he founded in Israel a decade ago, got involved in the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) project and began working with researchers on decoding the wheat genome.

It was a big project. At the time, decoding the wheat genome was a major challenge as it’s a highly complex crop. Work on the bread wheat genome had been in process for more than a decade. Genomics technology was capable of decoding the wheat genome and completed the work in two months, five years ahead of time.

Aside from the Green Revolution, it was perhaps one of the most significant events in the history of wheat breeding, Ronen says. Since then, NRGene has worked on multiple projects involving canola, lentil, mustard, beans, and many more.

“We have better seeds, better varieties, better crops, and this is due to better genetic combinations. If you want to know what will be the next best thing in seed, you can now look into the genomes of plants and produce seeds that are yielding more and better resistance to stresses using the data that is revealed within the genome,” Ronen says.

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