CLC bio, several prominent Danish research institutions, and three crop-enhancing companies have joined forces in a project which aims to develop potatoes into a high-efficient, low-maintenance and multipurpose crop, which cannot only be used for animal and human food, but also for energy and chemical production, like biofuel and starch.
The project will make extensive use of Next Generation Sequencing technology and Digital Gene Expression - also known as Tag-based Transcriptomics - to generate the knowledge for developing next generation crops.
Head of the project and Associate Professor at the Department of Life Sciences at Aalborg University, Dr. Kare Lehmann Nielsen, states.
Dr. Lehmann, 'With this project we want to discover the central biochemical pathways involved in the production of starch and storage proteins, and to identify the genes and genetic variants involved in the plants’ response to drought and diseases. CLC bio will develop the bioinformatics platform for all the Next Generation Sequencing analyses, and will ultimately be the instrumental part in developing the thousand Digital Gene Expression profiles, which will be used for developing the new super potato crop.'
The Potato plant was chosen for this project as it produces twice the amount of energy per area, compared to maize and wheat, which makes it ideal for energy and food production. The project will draw on information gained from gene expressions of 40 different growth conditions for 15 selected cultivars, which subsequently has been analyzed.
A significant number of new or optimized bioinformatics algorithms will be developed in this project. They will all be bundled into a comprehensive bioinformatics package based on CLC bio's present platform, the workbench, facilitating analysis of new sequencing technology data by research groups in companies and large corporations, as well as public and private research institutions.