Universiteit Leiden

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Plant Sciences

Plant Genome Modification

For many generations The Netherlands has a world leading position in classic plant breeding. The obvious disadvantage of classic breeding is that it takes a very long time to get the results that are wanted. To keep the leading position in plant breeding and to be able to create the plants that meet the demands of the future, novel strategies for plant modification are needed.

Genetic modification (GM) provides a rapid alternative, however, the use of GM plants in agriculture and horticulture is under strong debate and regulations in the Netherlands and Europe are so strict (in some parts of Europe GM plants are banned completely) that the breeding companies cannot rely on this technique for future developments. To find alternatives, we need to acquire fundamental knowledge on genome engineering in a non-GM way. Within the PSNP cluster such fundamental knowledge is generated by (i) the “Agrobacterium” research that studies plant-microbe interaction with important applications in biotechnology, (ii) the “yeast research” on ion homeostasis with applications not only in the field of genome engineering but also in cancer research and other health related topics. (iii) the DNA repair research also with important applications in relation to health related topics and (iv) the epigenetics research with applications in the field of plant growth, photosynthesis and meiosis.

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