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China National GeneBank partners with the Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands on Lettuce species project
Publish Date: 2017-10-14

October 5th, 2017, Yonghong,Mei, the director of China National GeneBank (CNGB), on behalf of CNGB, signed a collaboration agreement with the Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN) on Lettuce Genetic Mutation Detection and Breeding Project. Both parties will jointly promote the research and application of plant genetic resource. This cooperation will strengthen China-the Netherlands partnership and alliance in biological scientific research, and help to accelerate China’s research development on plant genetic mutation detection. 

According to the agreement, CGN will share all lettuce germplasm resources with CNGB, while CNGB will utilize its advantages of “three banks and two platforms” to provide technology and technical support on lettuce germplasm resources digitalization and storage, genetic mutation detection, and seed reproduction. All the information and discoveries will be made freely accessible to the public through CNGB’s platform, for the CNGB’s goal “Owned by all, Complete by all, and Shared by all”. “This cooperation not only will advance the discipline of the CNGB germplasm resources, but also will help us to discover candidate genes that have impact on important traits of lettuce for agriculture by genetic mutation detection, thus to improve the conventional molecular breeding.” Dr. Yu WANG from BGI-Research said in a statement. “In April 2017, the lettuce genome sequence has been decoded by a joint effort between BGI and UC-Davis Genome Center”, said Shifeng Cheng, the head of the Plant and Agriculture institute under BGI-research, “as one of the most valuable crops from the Compositae family, re-sequencing of 2,401 lettuce population genomes, both cultivated and wild accessions, will provide important insights into the origin and evolution of lettuce, and pay a revolutionary genome-aided breeding approach to identify and select lettuce elites, precisely and effectively”.

Currently molecular marker assisted selection and whole genome selection are mainstream molecular assisted breeding methods, estimation of breeding values are based on the effect of molecular markers from traditional gene chip screening obtained. However, the gene chip screening technology is only applicable to molecular markers that are already known, therefore, these molecular markers are not able to substantiate all the genetic mutations, and hence will affect the prediction and selection of the target traits. Re-sequencing technology not only could verify the validity of known molecular markers, but also could identify new molecular markers. Thus, with the increased SNP resolution, the accuracy of molecular markers assisted selection or whole genome selection based on SNP will be greatly increased.

“I’m delighted to start such a large-scale cooperation with the Center for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands. It’s a key milestone to China National Genebank.” said Jason Chen, head of international collaboration of CNGB, “We will also work with institutes from other countries in the future to enrich banks from CNGB with high quality resources.”

Since the first phage genome was fully sequenced in 1980, more and more genome sequencing programs have been initiated, and the contribution of BGI to the Chinese sequencing industry is particularly prominent. In 2016, BGI participated in the assembly of lettuce reference genome, and provided a high quality reference genome by overcoming many challenges posed by the complexity of lettuce genome. The results aroused attention among botanists at CGN, since CGN has the world's vastest lettuce germplasm resources. Its botanists wish to cooperate with BGI to build high precision genetic linkage map based on lettuce reference genome, to find new genetic mutations based on re-sequencing technology, and to discover candidate genes affect target trait based on linkage and association analysis, and therefore, to further study biodiversity and genetic evolution of European lettuce population.

 About The Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN)

The Centre for Genetic Resources, the Netherlands (CGN) conducts, on behalf of the Dutch government, statutory research tasks associated with the genetic diversity and identity of species that are important for agriculture and forestry. CGN is an independent research unit within DLO Foundation that assists the government in its statutory tasks. Its activities are aimed at the ex situ conservation, support for in situ conservation, and promotion of the use of genetic propagation material in support of breeding and research, and as part of our bio-cultural heritage.  Policy support of the Dutch government and international organizations is provided as a complementarily activity. The programme concerns crops and forest species as well as domestic animals.