Roslin wins share of £250m research grants
A £250 million funding package announced yesterday for a range of agricultural research institutes around the UK included £23m support for a project at the Roslin Institute, outside Edinburgh.
ARK-Genomics, based at Roslin, will investigate the genetic factors that influence yield, food safety, animal production and health. Any findings from this work will then feed into breeding programmes of industrial partners.
NFU Scotland’s animal health policy manager Penny Johnston said it showed that Scotland and its research institutes continued to punch above their weight in delivering global objectives
“This award to the Roslin Institute, secured against a tight fiscal backdrop, will progress some areas that are hugely important to our livestock and food sectors,” she said.
“Animal genetics are the cornerstone of any livestock production system and breeding disease resistance into our stock offers a real opportunity to improve efficiency at a farm level.
“That dovetails with planned work on the damaging poultry diseases campylobacter and salmonella. Having new treatments or vaccines available at farm level would not only improve the health of birds but could help tackle diseases that are serious human health problems.”
The total science and research package which was announced by the UK minister for universities and science, David Willetts, included the wheat pre-breeding programme at the John Innes Centre, Rothamsted. This programme will support the development of new varieties of wheat for farmers by broadening the number of traits available for breeding.
Another tranche of cash will go to the Institute of Animal Health towards trying to solve the disease problems which are carried by insect vectors. In recent years, the UK has had to face up to potential infections such as Smallenberg and Bluetongue, both of which have been brought over to the UK by midges.
Inevitably, genetics features highly in the research money, with the Genomic Analysis Centre receiving investment which will be used to ensure the institute can continue to deploy the latest advanced high-throughput sequencing for the UK bioscience community.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council which was responsible for deciding the support programme has also allocated funding to Aberystwyth University to establish a new national centre in plant phenotyping.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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