Biogemma is built around 4 core platforms in 4 species, and an upstream technology support.
The genetics platform integrates data from bi-parental populations (QTL) and wide variability panels representing natural variation (association) as well as mutant populations to analyse genetic factors underlying our traits of interest. High density maps and deeply genotyped panels provide the tools to identify precise locations for such genetic factors. Depending upon the species and the quality of the available data, we are able to get to within a few genes from the causal gene underlying these factors.
Evaluation of the genetic composition of traits – either by traditional genetics or GM approaches – is impossible without a strong capacity to analyse the performance of the plant. Biogemma uses a wide variety of technologies from the glasshouse to the field and from individual tissues to the crop level to analyse plant performance under normal and stressed conditions – both abiotic and biotic. The different levels of phenotyping provide the opportunity to take apart yield components and to determine their response to the environment. This allows both dissection of the genetic background of traits in conjunction with the genetics platform and evaluation of the effects of our transgenes in conjunction with the transgenics platform.
Identifying causal genes for traits and selecting the right genes for a transgenic solution requires a strong integrative approach: genetic co-localisation, either in QTL or association studies, together with functional annotation and gene expression data build a case for the involvement of a candidate gene in a trait. The Gene Discovery platform brings all the available data together on the genome of each of the four species worked on and allows us to select the genes with the strongest data. These are then either sent back to the genetics platform for more detailed analysis and use in the Native Trait programme or transferred to the transgenesis pipeline.
The transgenesis platform is built around four main entities allowing us to go from the gene to the field:
- Two efficient transformation systems, one each for wheat and maize, including construct preparation, tissue culture and production of early generation transgenic seeds,
- A field trial platform in the USA, providing the essential phenotyping tool to evaluate the performance of each gene or combination of genes, and
- A dedicated monitoring and quality control system that ensures that all regulatory requirements for the production and use of transgenic plants are complied with.
Together, this platform provides the tool to evaluate the effect of single genes in complex traits and select our best genes product development.
Genomics and bioinformatics upstream technology support
To support our activities in genetics, gene discovery and transgenesis, Biogemma has a genomics and bioinformatics upstream technology support. This team provides high throughput technologies like transcriptome analysis, sequence capture and next generation sequencing tools for targeted genome sequencing as well as the computing power to assemble all the data produced and project them on the genome sequences of the different species.
All this data is presented in species specific portals constructed around proprietary genome assemblies for wheat, sunflower and oilseed rape and the public sequence for maize.