BBSRC Core Strategic Programme in Resilient Crops: Grasslands Gogerddan

Lead Research Organisation: Aberystwyth University
Department Name: IBERS

Abstract

1. Genetics of field persistence of perennial forage grasses and white clover: we will develop genetically defined experimental populations of ryegrass and clover grown as: a) single and multi-population swards and, b) spaced plants in the field. We will determine allelic profiles of sward populations following sowing, establishment and subsequent sward development, using genotyping by sequencing (GBS), and measures of forage quality and phenology. Data will be collected over multiple years and across different environments. Based on sward and spaced plant data, selected genotypes will be phenotyped in the NPPC. We will compare significant shifts in allele frequencies within the swards with the location of QTL for performance and quality traits identified in mapping families and NPPC data. By integrating across scales, we will use NPPC and spaced plant phenotypes to test predictions of field performance of related populations.
2. Plant architecture and genetics of field persistence in red clover: red clover is a high protein forage legume with many benefits in crop rotation, but it is not very persistent, particularly under grazing. This is most likely associated with plant architecture, including erect versus prostrate growth habit, dependency on the crown for regrowth and ability to develop roots from nodes of creeping stems. Previous BBSRC work has allowed us to develop a Pseudo NAM population which segregates for growth habit and architecture. Field experiments are still in progress, but large differences can be observed between progeny, indicating a substantial genetic element to these traits. We will use an F2 family from the Pseudo NAM population to compare with parental populations, accessions with prostrate and erect growth habit in field experiments. We will obtain data on allele frequency changes over years in the swards, and associate this with phenotypic data of plant growth habit, forage quality and phenology. This will allow us to locate QTL and further fine mapping of the traits. The genomic and phenotypic data obtained from both red clover and the ryegrass-white clover experiments in this project will also be used to develop predictive models for field performance.
3. Abiotic stress – soil water status: in the UK, the length, seasonal timing and year-to-year variations in soil water status are unpredictable but have major implications for grassland productivity and management. This means that permanent grasslands must have the capacity to withstand periods of both water-logging and drought. We will undertake a genetic and transcriptomic study of ryegrass responses to both extremes of soil water status. We will initially evaluate a panel of genotypes in glasshouse drought-bin and water logging experiments for growth during and recovery after stress conditions. We will also develop genetic mapping families for QTL analysis and complementary RNA-seq data sets to identify differentially expressed genes and associated gene-networks. Through genome anchoring, we will relate differentially expressed gene and QTL positions to allelic shifts identified in field-based sward experiments. This will identify targets for gene validation through gene expression and editing technologies.
4. Enabling science and technologies for enhancing forage quality: forage quality is a product of genotype x environment interactions and is a key component of forage environmental impact and economic viability. We will define and evaluate key components of forage quality both in terms of field performance and their potential for influencing animal production and well-being. This will include characterising and manipulating the genetics of forage quality and developing molecular tools for the validation and manipulation of key genes in forage quality pathways.

Publications

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Betekhtin A (2018) Cell Wall Epitopes and Endoploidy as Reporters of Embryogenic Potential in Callus Culture. in International journal of molecular sciences

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Bhatia R (2017) Genetic engineering of grass cell wall polysaccharides for biorefining. in Plant biotechnology journal

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Driever SM (2017) Increased SBPase activity improves photosynthesis and grain yield in wheat grown in greenhouse conditions. in Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences

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Eriksson D (2018) A Welcome Proposal to Amend the GMO Legislation of the EU. in Trends in biotechnology

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Fuchs LK (2018) Anthropogenic Impacts on Meiosis in Plants. in Frontiers in plant science

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Garcia-Garcia J (2017) iFrag: A Protein-Protein Interface Prediction Server Based on Sequence Fragments. in Journal of molecular biology

 
Description New perennial ryegrass and white clover seed populations, representing different levels of genetic complexity, have been developed suitable for field scale testing of genotype fluxes between seed germination and sward establishment. These were established in the field in April 2018. Comparable populations are being assessed both as spaced plants in the field and under experimental conditions testing drought and water logging response. Genotyping-by-sequencing data has been generated from the perennial ryegrass founder populations and is currently being analysed.

A range of perennial ryegrass genotypes selected from ecotype collections and potential plant pre-breeding germplasm have been evaluated for drought and water-logging response. Specific genotypes are being selected for crossing in 2019.

A transcriptomic study of drought response in leaves and roots of an inbred, homozygous perennial ryegrass has been completed and is being written up for publication. This genotype was also used in developing he initial published genome assembly for perennial ryegrass. Expression patterns have been analysed in terms of enriched Gene Ontology terms and KEGG enzyme activities. Marked contrasts between the numbers of GO terms enriched in up- and down-regulated genes at different stages of increasing water-stress have been identified. A second experiment using a wider variety of perennial ryegrass genotypes has been completed and data analysis is in progress.

Six red clover varieties or populations representing contrasting growth habits or architecture were analysed for their persistency under simulated grazing and silage management systems. Two field experiments were established in 2017, one for the grazing and one for the cutting management system, both in complete randomised block design with four replicates.
We have phenotypic data from the first full years growth. This includes ground cover (persistency) and biomass yield from cuts taken throughout the season. This will be complemented by genomic data using genotyping by sequencing from pooled genotypes from each plot. This will allow us to follow changes in allele frequencies over time. A pilot experiment has enabled us to determine the most optimal sequence coverage and restriction enzyme combination to use to obtain sufficient read depth.
One of the populations from the field experiment is an F2 population segregating for growth habit traits, and has been established as a mapping population. We will use this to find phenotype-genotype associations for traits related to growth habit by GWAS.

Through an Agri-Food Technology Seeding catalyst Award in understanding limitations to rapid uptake of new forage varieties we have developed a methodology to improve knowledge exchange to facilitate adoption of new forage crop varieties carrying innovative traits. We undertook this in collaboration with industry (Germinal, Menter a Busnes, Farming Connect, AHDB, Quantech, Farmers Union of Wales) and held a) a series of workshops (lead by academic with expertise in behaviour change), b) focus group activities to test ideas from literature review on current KE practices, c) surveys and an event at Royal Welsh Agricultural Show and d) interacted with two stakeholder groups using a 'customer journey' as a participative research method. Key findings were that 1) farmer's can be surprisingly unaware of possibilities of new varieties (which may be associated with issues on who they are seeking advice from), 2) there is a disconnect between the outputs of plant breeding and the stocks held by seed merchants (even if farmers want a particular new variety, it is not available through their seed merchants), and 3) barriers to uptake form an action gap driven by cashflow, time and risk/uncertainty. We are preparing a publication to disseminate these findings.
Exploitation Route This research is aimed at comparing the responses of perennial ryegrasses grown as mixed populations and as individuals. This is important in understanding the relationship between the composition of the seed as sown and the composition of the grass sward that establishes and remains over a number of years. This relates to the development and deployment of new perennial ryegrass varieties and may be useful directly for plant breeders and seed merchants and indirectly to farmers and other growers.

The evaluations of drought and water-logging stress responses may identify genotypes which will be useful to plant breeders in developing lines which show improved resilience in the face of abiotic stresses.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

 
Description Growth habit is important in red clover breeding. More erect growth habits are developed for conservation cuts and soil improvement whereas more prostrate growth habits are used directly in animal production as they are more persistent in the face of animal grazing. One of the red clover populations identified in this programme as part of our analysis of the genetics of plant architecture (Aa4522) was chosen for its prostrate growth habit. Trials done in the red clover breeding programme have confirmed its potential usefulness. This accession has now been incorporated into the red clover breeding programme as a basis for generating more grazing tolerant and persistent varieties. Through the findings of an Agri-Food Technology Seeding Catalyst Award in understanding limitations to rapid uptake of new forage varieties, we have identified 3 key action points aimed at overcoming barriers to uptake of new developments. We need to: 1) raise awareness of the influence that agricultural-associated industries (eg vets) have on practitioners, so that innovators, germplasm and technology developers can ensure that this important group is fully informed of the potential benefits of adopting new varieties and practices and can disseminate this information to the practitioners. 2) increase engagement with the seed merchants, e.g., through inviting key seed company representatives (those with responsibility for determining what varieties are stocked/added to mixes) to events highlighting the benefits of incorporating IBERS varieties with high quality and novel traits into their seed products. 3) publish a positioning paper, in an appropriately targeted journal, highlighting the challenges, the findings and the methodologies to overcome these challenges. The EU approach to risk-assessment and regulation of biotechnology has generated vocal criticism from the UK plant science community. This has led to IBERS being represented at round table meetings with MPs Michael Gove and George Eustice, and a one-to-one meeting with Chris Salmon (special advisor to Michael Gove) to discuss future UK policy on biotechnology innovation and regulation.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Agricultural Biotechnology Council and the Crop Protection Association, high-level roundtable with the Food and Farming Minister, George Eustice MP to discuss innovation in agriculture post-Brexit. 21st Nov 2017 Westminster London.
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Development and delivery of MSc level distance learning module - Genetics and Genomics in Agriculture
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The Genetics and Genomics module is an MSc level module that is delivered via distance learning. The module introduces students to fundamental genetic principles which underpin both traditional and modern breeding programs. The role of emerging genetic technologies to drive sustainability in both crop and animal systems are introduced, along with the wider social implications of adopting such technologies. The majority of the students are in full time employment in the UK agri-food sector. A number of international students from Colombia, Papua New Guinea and Nigeria have completed the module The module is offered through the BBSRC sponsored AgriFood Training Partnership (AFTP) and the BioInovation Wales scheme, which provides postgraduate training for Welsh agri-food and biotech industries.
URL https://www.aftp.co.uk/course/genetics-genomics-agriculture/single_course
 
Description EPSO/ ATF Workshop Plants for the Future
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Invited delegate to European Infrastructures Initiative: EMPHASIS
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Meeting MEPs in EU parliament
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://iplanta.univpm.it/sites/iplanta.univpm.it/files/Bruxelles%20October%202018/IP-001-18_Roundta...
 
Description Round-table meeting with M. Gove MP, Ian Boyd, Defra chief scientist, heads of BBSRC Institutes and other organisations with interests in regulation of biotechnology. 11th Feb 2019 NFU Smith Sq. Westminster London.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description A China-UK joint phenomics consortium to dissect the basis of crop stress resistance in the face of climate change
Amount £30,612 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/R02118X/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 06/2022
 
Description Agricultural production
Amount £550,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 93314-562353 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 10/2020
 
Description Bayer Grants4Target. Targeting the switch I-II region in RAS using peptides.
Amount € 10,000 (EUR)
Organisation Bayer 
Sector Private
Country Germany
Start 11/2017 
End 11/2018
 
Description Future forages: Implications of forage response to climate change for ruminant production
Amount £474,783 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/R019185/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2018 
End 06/2021
 
Description Newton Bhabha
Amount £11,500 (GBP)
Funding ID 429166466 
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2019 
End 08/2019
 
Description Newton Bhabha Industrial Waste BIOREVIEW
Amount £1,001,109 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/S011994/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 08/2021
 
Description Partnering Award
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/R02118X/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 02/2021
 
Description Research Grant
Amount £258,000 (GBP)
Funding ID RPG-2017-440 
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 10/2021
 
Description SMARTExpertise
Amount £500,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SMARTExpertise - 2017/COL/008 
Organisation Government of Wales 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 03/2021
 
Description Seeding Catalyst Award
Amount £150,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/SCA/IBERS/17 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2017 
End 02/2018
 
Description Syngenta studentships
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Syngenta International AG 
Sector Public
Country Global
Start 12/2017 
End 11/2020
 
Title BADock 
Description The BADock server implements a novel strategy that use the non-specific complexes obtained by docking to predict the free energy, allowing the user to predict the binding affinities from the unbound tertiary structures. We have tested the approach on a set of globular and soluble proteins of the newest affinity benchmark, obtaining a prediction accuracy comparable to other state-of-art methods. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact A fast computational method to assess potential protein-protein interactions 
 
Description BioLumic 
Organisation Massey University
Department Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health
Country New Zealand 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have developed dynamic phenotyping protocols and data analysis routines that are being evaluated for use in NZ, on research topics that overlap with core IBERS/NPPC research areas in grassland research, seed biology and photophysiology.
Collaborator Contribution Treatments for plants/seeds that exploit a deep knowledge of photophysiology but have a long term effect on plant production
Impact Invited visit and seminars at Massey University, NZ, with exchanges of ESRs planned
Start Year 2019
 
Description Brachiaria genomics and transcriptomics 
Organisation CGIAR
Department International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Country Colombia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We have been undertaking experiments looking at gene expression changes associated with water stress in Brachiaria
Collaborator Contribution CIAT have provided plant material for this work as well as advice on how to cultivate plants in the UK. CIAT have also been carrying out field-based drought evaluations of related material in Colombia. Earlham Institute are working on genome assemblies for Brachiaria which have been shared and are being used for mapping transcriptome sequences.
Impact Narcis Fernandez-Fuentes attended a GCRF meeting in Colombia, October 2017, to discuss areas of collaboration going forward.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Brachiaria genomics and transcriptomics 
Organisation Earlham Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have been undertaking experiments looking at gene expression changes associated with water stress in Brachiaria
Collaborator Contribution CIAT have provided plant material for this work as well as advice on how to cultivate plants in the UK. CIAT have also been carrying out field-based drought evaluations of related material in Colombia. Earlham Institute are working on genome assemblies for Brachiaria which have been shared and are being used for mapping transcriptome sequences.
Impact Narcis Fernandez-Fuentes attended a GCRF meeting in Colombia, October 2017, to discuss areas of collaboration going forward.
Start Year 2015
 
Description China-UK Phenomics 
Organisation Huazhong Agricultural University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have established a MOU and plan a virtual Centre focused on crop phenotyping and genetics
Collaborator Contribution We have established a MOU and plan a virtual Centre focused on crop phenotyping and genetics
Impact first manuscript submitted to Frontiers in Plant Science; BBSRC partnering award, 2018
Start Year 2017
 
Description Eucarpia Festulolium group 
Organisation DLF Trifolium
Country Czech Republic 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from the UK
Collaborator Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from across Europe
Impact Paper in preparation. Associated with reports and workshops and successive Eucarpia meetings
Start Year 2012
 
Description Eucarpia Festulolium group 
Organisation French National Institute of Agricultural Research
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from the UK
Collaborator Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from across Europe
Impact Paper in preparation. Associated with reports and workshops and successive Eucarpia meetings
Start Year 2012
 
Description Eucarpia Festulolium group 
Organisation Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from the UK
Collaborator Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from across Europe
Impact Paper in preparation. Associated with reports and workshops and successive Eucarpia meetings
Start Year 2012
 
Description Eucarpia Festulolium group 
Organisation Institute for Medicinal Plant Research Kruševac (IKBKS)
Country Serbia 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from the UK
Collaborator Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from across Europe
Impact Paper in preparation. Associated with reports and workshops and successive Eucarpia meetings
Start Year 2012
 
Description Eucarpia Festulolium group 
Organisation Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research
Country Norway 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from the UK
Collaborator Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from across Europe
Impact Paper in preparation. Associated with reports and workshops and successive Eucarpia meetings
Start Year 2012
 
Description Eucarpia Festulolium group 
Organisation Polish Academy of Sciences
Department Institute of Plant Genetics
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from the UK
Collaborator Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from across Europe
Impact Paper in preparation. Associated with reports and workshops and successive Eucarpia meetings
Start Year 2012
 
Description Eucarpia Festulolium group 
Organisation Rothamsted Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from the UK
Collaborator Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from across Europe
Impact Paper in preparation. Associated with reports and workshops and successive Eucarpia meetings
Start Year 2012
 
Description Eucarpia Festulolium group 
Organisation Teagasc
Department Teagasc Food Research Centre
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from the UK
Collaborator Contribution Trialing sites and Festulolium cultivars from across Europe
Impact Paper in preparation. Associated with reports and workshops and successive Eucarpia meetings
Start Year 2012
 
Description Legume Steering Group 
Organisation EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL - EBI)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Member of the Legume Steering Group led by Prof Christine Foyer, University of Leeds. The purpose is to reinvigorate excellent legume basic research leading to BBSRC and other proposals; create a unified legume community; work with DEFRA to inform government on legume-related issues; attract new researchers to the legume community; engage with industry and policy makers in research, agriculture and health, organize a yearly scientific meeting. IBERS forage and pulse plant breeding team is keen to contribute to achieving these goals, and have participated in the latest steering group meeting held in London on February 20th.
Collaborator Contribution The steering group was formed recently. There are plans to hold a meeting at NIAB later in the year. Collaborations between IBERS and some of the members of the steering group has led to successful applications for BBSRC funding.
Impact The PeaGen BBSRC LINK project between IBERS, JIC and other partners was not formed as a result of the legume steering group, but can be said to be an example of what can be achieved, and has encouraged the forming the steering group, and shaped its membership.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Legume Steering Group 
Organisation James Hutton Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Member of the Legume Steering Group led by Prof Christine Foyer, University of Leeds. The purpose is to reinvigorate excellent legume basic research leading to BBSRC and other proposals; create a unified legume community; work with DEFRA to inform government on legume-related issues; attract new researchers to the legume community; engage with industry and policy makers in research, agriculture and health, organize a yearly scientific meeting. IBERS forage and pulse plant breeding team is keen to contribute to achieving these goals, and have participated in the latest steering group meeting held in London on February 20th.
Collaborator Contribution The steering group was formed recently. There are plans to hold a meeting at NIAB later in the year. Collaborations between IBERS and some of the members of the steering group has led to successful applications for BBSRC funding.
Impact The PeaGen BBSRC LINK project between IBERS, JIC and other partners was not formed as a result of the legume steering group, but can be said to be an example of what can be achieved, and has encouraged the forming the steering group, and shaped its membership.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Legume Steering Group 
Organisation John Innes Centre
Department Department of Crop Genetics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Member of the Legume Steering Group led by Prof Christine Foyer, University of Leeds. The purpose is to reinvigorate excellent legume basic research leading to BBSRC and other proposals; create a unified legume community; work with DEFRA to inform government on legume-related issues; attract new researchers to the legume community; engage with industry and policy makers in research, agriculture and health, organize a yearly scientific meeting. IBERS forage and pulse plant breeding team is keen to contribute to achieving these goals, and have participated in the latest steering group meeting held in London on February 20th.
Collaborator Contribution The steering group was formed recently. There are plans to hold a meeting at NIAB later in the year. Collaborations between IBERS and some of the members of the steering group has led to successful applications for BBSRC funding.
Impact The PeaGen BBSRC LINK project between IBERS, JIC and other partners was not formed as a result of the legume steering group, but can be said to be an example of what can be achieved, and has encouraged the forming the steering group, and shaped its membership.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Legume Steering Group 
Organisation National Institute of Agronomy and Botany (NIAB)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Member of the Legume Steering Group led by Prof Christine Foyer, University of Leeds. The purpose is to reinvigorate excellent legume basic research leading to BBSRC and other proposals; create a unified legume community; work with DEFRA to inform government on legume-related issues; attract new researchers to the legume community; engage with industry and policy makers in research, agriculture and health, organize a yearly scientific meeting. IBERS forage and pulse plant breeding team is keen to contribute to achieving these goals, and have participated in the latest steering group meeting held in London on February 20th.
Collaborator Contribution The steering group was formed recently. There are plans to hold a meeting at NIAB later in the year. Collaborations between IBERS and some of the members of the steering group has led to successful applications for BBSRC funding.
Impact The PeaGen BBSRC LINK project between IBERS, JIC and other partners was not formed as a result of the legume steering group, but can be said to be an example of what can be achieved, and has encouraged the forming the steering group, and shaped its membership.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Legume Steering Group 
Organisation University of Leeds
Department School of Biology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Member of the Legume Steering Group led by Prof Christine Foyer, University of Leeds. The purpose is to reinvigorate excellent legume basic research leading to BBSRC and other proposals; create a unified legume community; work with DEFRA to inform government on legume-related issues; attract new researchers to the legume community; engage with industry and policy makers in research, agriculture and health, organize a yearly scientific meeting. IBERS forage and pulse plant breeding team is keen to contribute to achieving these goals, and have participated in the latest steering group meeting held in London on February 20th.
Collaborator Contribution The steering group was formed recently. There are plans to hold a meeting at NIAB later in the year. Collaborations between IBERS and some of the members of the steering group has led to successful applications for BBSRC funding.
Impact The PeaGen BBSRC LINK project between IBERS, JIC and other partners was not formed as a result of the legume steering group, but can be said to be an example of what can be achieved, and has encouraged the forming the steering group, and shaped its membership.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Legume Steering Group 
Organisation University of Warwick
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Member of the Legume Steering Group led by Prof Christine Foyer, University of Leeds. The purpose is to reinvigorate excellent legume basic research leading to BBSRC and other proposals; create a unified legume community; work with DEFRA to inform government on legume-related issues; attract new researchers to the legume community; engage with industry and policy makers in research, agriculture and health, organize a yearly scientific meeting. IBERS forage and pulse plant breeding team is keen to contribute to achieving these goals, and have participated in the latest steering group meeting held in London on February 20th.
Collaborator Contribution The steering group was formed recently. There are plans to hold a meeting at NIAB later in the year. Collaborations between IBERS and some of the members of the steering group has led to successful applications for BBSRC funding.
Impact The PeaGen BBSRC LINK project between IBERS, JIC and other partners was not formed as a result of the legume steering group, but can be said to be an example of what can be achieved, and has encouraged the forming the steering group, and shaped its membership.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Lolium perenne genomics 
Organisation Aarhus University
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution As part of this grant we have developed a close collaboratioin with the Univ. Aarhus, Denmark. This has allowed us to closely align this BBSRC funded physical mapping with de novo genome sequencing and assembly - funded by the Danish research council. Joint publications are planned
Collaborator Contribution Univ. Aarhus have developed a Lolium perenne genome assembly using the same genotype studied by Aberystwyth in this grant
Impact In preparation
Start Year 2010
 
Description Perennial ryegrass and red clover sequencing and genotyping 
Organisation Earlham Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution AU have identified and grown germplasm accessions to be used for the genetic and genomic studies.
Collaborator Contribution Earlham Institute are currently generating the related molecular datasets.
Impact In progress
Start Year 2016
 
Description Question Time debate with Ben Lake PM Plaid Cymru & Bethan Williams Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg 4th Aug 2017. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact I was an invited Panel member for a Question Time debate with around 100 undergraduate students of many disciplines. Other panel members included Ben Lake PM (Plaid Cymru) & Bethan Williams (Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg) 4th Aug 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Chinese Embassy delegation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The science attachee from the Chinese Embassay was provided with a tour and information on our research and educational activities, including exisiting and proposed links with China
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Cultivating the Future: How can 20 years of GM debate inform UK farm policy? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Cultivating the Future: How can 20 years of GM debate inform UK farm policy?

Wednesday 14 December, 9.00 - 10.30am, Macmillan Room, Portcullis House


Guest speakers:
Mark Buckingham, Chair, Agricultural Biotechnology Council (abc)
Dr Helen Ferrier, Chief Science and Regulatory Affairs Adviser, NFU
Professor Huw Jones, Chair in Translational Genomics for Plant Breeding, Aberystwyth University
Graham Brookes, Agricultural Economist, PG Economics Ltd


Chair:
Julian Sturdy MP


The next meeting of the APPG on Science and Technology in Agriculture will be a breakfast meeting on Wednesday 14 December to host the launch of 'Cultivating the Future', a new collection of essays by prominent experts, compiled by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (abc) to mark the 20th anniversary of the commercial cultivation of GM crops.

About the Group
The APPG on Science and Technology in Agriculture provides an important forum for debate among UK politicians and stakeholders, not only to understand and recognise the contribution of agricultural science and innovation, but also to identify any policy, knowledge-based or regulatory barriers to its development and application. The Group was established in 2008. Meetings and membership are open to all Parliamentarians. For more information please visit www.appg-agscience.org.uk

Cultivating the Future
Marking 20 years of global GM crop cultivation, abc is launching a new collection of essays featuring contributions from invited experts including scientists, policy-makers, farmers and media commentators, examining how the landscape has evolved over the past two decades in terms of the technology's development and uptake, the political/regulatory context and the accompanying public and media debate.

The UK's former chief scientist Sir John Beddington, one of the contributing essayists, led the way in highlighting the need for access to the latest advances in agricultural technology and innovation to meet the food needs of a burgeoning world population in the face of climate change and declining natural resources.

Yet while GM technology has become the most rapidly adopted crop innovation on record, now grown on 180 million hectares by 18 million farmers worldwide, no commercial GM crops are currently available to UK farmers and in Europe the technology has been stifled by political division and opposition.

As the UK prepares to develop its post-Brexit arrangements for GMO regulation and future farm policy, this is a key opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned from 20 years of global GM crop cultivation, and to consider the role of agricultural technology and innovation in addressing the future challenges facing our food and farming industries.

The meeting will take place from 9.00 - 10.30am on Wednesday 14 December 2016 in the Macmillan Room, Portcullis House.

Refreshments will be provided.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1Z4cyuOIaLLbldJbTVoTUxwSWM/view
 
Description Cutting Edge Biology: Genetics & Genomics CPD for Teachers. Swansea University 27th June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Specialist in service training in genetics & genomics CPD for Teachers. Swansea University 27th June 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.walesgenepark.cardiff.ac.uk/2018/09/06/wales-gene-park-at-wales-festival-of-innovation-20...
 
Description Developing a research cyberinfrastructure in Colombia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of the GROW Colombia project, Earlham Institute organised a workshop in Bogota´ in June 2018 which brought together important experts in the country to design
a strategy for how to develop a research cyberinfrastructure that can cope with the needs to study the country's staggeringly rich native biodiversity. The Colombian Cyberinfrastructure Consortium for Biodiversity, C3biodiversidad, aims to develop and promote a scientific cyberinfrastructure in Colombia for analysis of natural and agricultural biodiversity. This Colombian cyberinfrastructure will include the provision of high performance computing (HPC) and large data storage, and allow for the establishment of a virtual organisation around common practices, tools and data. As result, it will necessarily include the community of people and institutions in the country to manage these resources in a secure and interoperable way.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.bridgecolombia.org/2018/10/09/data-revolution-grow-colombias-bioeconomy/
 
Description Divseek 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop for UK Plant Scientists in academia and industry to discuss future involvement in DivSeek programmes. Statement on future participation is being prepared for BBSRC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Dr Maria Vorontsova, Kew 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Visiting academic from Kew was provided with tour of NPPC and IBERS. Grass breeding was of particular interest with a view to exploiting native species in tropical countries
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Expert witness for US Foreign Agricultural Service Biotech Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact • Invited speaker, NBTs and GMOs after the ECJ decision - an expert view FAS Europe Biotech Workshop, U.S. Embassy, Ernst Cramer Room, Pariser Platz 2, 10117 Berlin, Germany. August 22-24, 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Farm advisor training session 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Three farm advisor training sessions were held. Two at IBERS and one at SASA. The purpose is to make advisors aware of new developments and varieties in the pipeline, and provide advice about management of such new material.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Fascination of plants, Aberaeron 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact NPPC staff ran a stall, aimed at introducing plant biology and crop breeding to the general public. The exhibits were "hands on" and illustrated bio-diversity, adaptation as well as the use of tachnology to study and improve plants/crops
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Gene editing and its application to fruit and vegetable breeding 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Description and discussion of gene editing as a technique of fruit and vegetable breeding at the annual international Fruit & Vegetable Congress, Ricoh Arena Coventry. 9th Oct 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.fpjlive.com/speakers
 
Description Germinal Herbage training 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of their annual training program, Germinal personnel were shown the latest developments in clover and forage breeding
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Growing tomorrow's dinner - should GM be on the table? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact To generate discussion around whether GM is a viable option to address food security. To dddress people's concerns and explore GM as part of the bigger picture of global food challenges. When answering questions, please try and give a balanced answer where possible.
17:30 Arrival of speakers and introductions
18:30 Event begins. Welcome by chair (Professor Melanie Welham) and audience vote
18:40 Introduction from panellists
18:55 Initial discussion between chair and panellists
19:10 Interactive activity
19.20 Discussion of results from activity
19:40 Audience Q&A
19.55 Wrap up of event, thank you and second audience vote
20.00 Event ends
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2016/11/growing-tomorrows-dinner-cardiff/
 
Description Interview and quotes in Sunday Observer editorial 'The Observers view on Europe's ban on gene edited crops' 29th July 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview and my quotes used in Sunday Observer editorial 'The Observers view on Europe's ban on gene edited crops' 29th July 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/29/observer-view-on-europe-ban-on-gene-edi
 
Description Interview with Jonathan Riley Farmers Weekly 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Interview with Jonathan Riley Farmers Weekly 'Scientists hope US gene editing decision sets precedent' 9th April 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/us-gene-editing-decision-hailed-breakthrough#provider_moreover
 
Description Interview with Robin McKie, The Guardian 8th April 2018. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview with Robin McKie The Guardian. 'US gene editing ruling delights plant scientists' 8th April 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/apr/07/gene-editing-ruling-crops-plants
 
Description Interviewed by i News on ECJ gene editing ruling 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview by The i News on ECJ gene editing ruling. 13th Sept 2018. Changing rules on gene editing after Brexit could 'alleviate world hunger', scientists claim. Some of my input was used as quotes in the article.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/gm-gene-editing-rules-brexit/
 
Description Invited panel discussion participant at the 2018 Gene Editing Congress 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited to take part in a panel discussion for the 2018 Gene Editing Congress, which formed part of 4Bio Summit: Europe, held in Rotterdam on 27th November 2018. The panel discussion considered existing legal frameworks for gene editing applications, ethical concerns in light of the growing scope and scale of genome engineering and offered regulatory advice from future safe scientific research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.global-engage.com/event/4bio-gene-editing/
 
Description Journey to the centre of the cow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact School Science week exhibit "Journey to the centre of the cow" to demonstrate feed breakdown in the rumen and how plant genotype can affect this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Lectures to postgraduate students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lectures given for the Crop Biotechnology module that introduces students to the scientific principles underlying the development of a biotech crop. It provides students with an understanding of the concepts of recombinant DNA technology, including genome editing, and how this can be applied to commercial biotechnology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/modules/deptcurrent/BRM0620/AB0/
 
Description Lectures to undergraduate students 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Details of the CSP are included in an number of lectures delivered to undergraduate students in the 2nd and final year of their degree.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
 
Description NPPC website and data portal 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A general website including information on activities at NPPC, platforms available, resources generated in terms of data and software. A secure access portal is provided for transfer of unpublished data between the Centre and users.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://www.plant-phenomics.ac.uk/
 
Description PAG XXVII International Plant and Genome conference 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented a poster to PAGXXVII, the international plant and genome conferences, perhaps the most important conference in the field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://plan.core-apps.com/pag_2019/abstract/c3eb8177e7ac2f211aa9202c491ebe22
 
Description Plant Research (NZ) Ltd 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Dr Veronica Kinsman from Plant Research (NZ) Ltd visited IBERS to discuss forage grass breeding approaches and to identify areas of potential collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Press briefing in London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Industrial partner Germinal Holdings met with 5 journalists from the print media to give an update on projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Public lecture titled The inconvenient truth about GMOs; they are perfectly safe 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave an invited Public Lecture jointly organised by the Learned Soc Wales & Aberystwyth University on 19th Oct 2017. Title: The inconvenient truth about GMOs; they are perfectly safe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.learnedsociety.wales/lsw-event/inconvenient-truth-genetic-modificationits-perfectly-safe...
 
Description Public talk - GM crops: Success or Failure? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk was presented to Mach Speak, a group supported by the Public Interest Research Centre who work with civil society to develop stories and strategies for a more equal, green and democratic society. The presentation offered an overview to of genetic modification in crop plants, including developments in genome editing strategies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description RWS, provided centre piece of IBERS marquee 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact NPPC provided rhizatrons and other phenotyping equipment as the centre piece in the IBERS marqee, with staff to explain the role of new computer assisted technologies in plant improvement and food security
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Royal Welsh Show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Climate-Smart Grass research was presented to stakeholders in the Education Pavilion at the Royal Welsh Show. July 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.nrn-lcee.ac.uk/climate-smart-grass/
 
Description Session moderator: OECD Conference on Genome Editing. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Session moderator which included four other experts on Genome Editing. Paris 28th-29th June 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.oecd.org/environment/genome-editing-agriculture/
 
Description Social Lab on Responsible Research and Innovation. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Social Lab on Responsible Research and Innovation focusing on Future and Emerging Technologies. Part of an EU NewHoRRIzon project. Tromso Norway 24th-25th May 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://newhorrizon.eu/sl2/
 
Description Trinity College Dublin 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Professor Trevor Hodkinson Associate Professor in Botany, Trinity College Dublin visited IBERS for research discussions and to view the facilities - including the National Plant Phenomics Centre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Undergraduate open day talk on genome editing 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact A talk giving an overview of genome editing, highlighting its use in agriculture, forms a part of the open days attended by undergraduate applicants to the university. There are around eight open days each year.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019
 
Description Visit by Michael Norriss of PGG Wrightson Seeds 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Michael Norriss from PGG Wrightson Seeds visited IBERS to hear about forage breeding activities at IBERS and discuss possibilities of collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Visit of Advanced Ag 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Visit of delegation of Advanced Ag from New Zealand, who has links with our industrial partner germinal Holdings to see the breeding work and facilities at IBERS and meet some of the staff involved in forage breeding
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Visit of Farmlands NZ 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Visit of Farmlands NZ who has links with Germinal Holdings our industrial partner. Primary purpose was to present the breeding work going on at IBERS and interact with the staff in the Forage Plant Breeding team
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Ystwyth Valley Farmers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This was one of many farming groups, including Young Farmers groups from across the UK, that have visited NPPC/IBERS over the past several years. The visitors are shown the breeding and phenotyping technologies and other science related topics such as climate change, GM, food science and environmental issues are often discussed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description visit Lord Bourne Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Wales Office 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Tour and discussion of the role of the NPPC as a National Facility, and its role in training
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018