b'Plant Pathology ResearchSTATUS TANZANIA cooperation and innovationand ethical regulations.Centre (NPPRC) and NationalThe World Vegetable Centerin agricultural research andAt the Earlham Institute, Wheat Research Programofficially opened Africasdevelopment. It demon- this includes crop pange-(NWRP), supported by rigor- Vegetable Genebank onstrates how strategic invest- nomes and the tools required ous and accurate diseaseMarch 19, 2024, at its regionalments and collaborativeto analyse them, devel-diagnostics at the Global Rustcenter for Eastern andefforts can lead to tangibleoped through its Decoding Reference Center (GRRC),Southern Africa, in Arusha,outcomes that positivelyBiodiversity strategic pro-Denmark, confirmed theTanzania. This state-of-the-artimpact communities andgramme - funded by the presence of Ug99 as a highlyfacility replaces a seed reposi- enhance sustainable agricul- Biotechnology and Biological virulent race variant termedtory that was established inture. Sciences Research Council TTKTT. Results were obtained1992, later upgraded into a(BBSRC), part of UKRI.from two field samples col- genebank in 2017. The newBut the transition of this lected in early Novemberinfrastructure was constructedSTATUS UK knowledge into usable tech-2023 from off-season summerand equipped with generousA new project will pushnologyand its uptake by wheat crops. funding from the Republic ofcutting-edge research toolsindustryremains a signifi-Migration of Ug99 fromChina (Taiwan) through theto plant breeders, providingcant challenge.Africa to other regions,TAVI project.access to genomic resourcesModern plant breed-including South Asia, wasThe inauguration of theto accelerate the developmenting practices are based on always seen as likely due togenebank marks an importantof more resilient and climate- understanding and then using the transboundary nature ofmilestone for WorldVeg andresistant crops. genetic resources - made the disease and long-distanceits work on ensuring the col- The collaboration joinspossible by digital innovations dispersal of rust spores bylection, conservation, charac- the Earlham Institute, IBM- that breeders can incorpo-wind. Detection of a Ug99terization, regeneration, andResearch, the Science andrate into their programmes, race in Nepal is not thereforedata management of vegeta- Technology Facilities Councilprofessor Anthony Hall, a surprise, but it highlights theble germplasm. The facility(STFC) Hartree Centre andproject lead and head of Plant effectiveness of the wheat rustincludes seed processing andRAGT Seeds UK to simplifyGenomics at the Earlham surveillance and monitoringdrying facilities, an acquisitionand speed up the transitionInstitute explained.systems that have been devel- room, climate-controlled seedof cutting-edge genomeThe plant breeding indus-oped. The disease was presentstorage, and a seed testingresearch tools, workflows andtry has a crucial role to play in at extremely low levels in thelaboratory, providing a robustsoftware into industrial appli- addressing the global chal-fields in Nepal. The wheat onfoundation for safeguardingcations. lenges of food security, water which the Ug99 race TTKTTand utilizing vegetable geneticThe Excelerate projectconservation and net zero. was detected were fodderresources. This initiative notis part of the STFC HartreeThis new project brings crops and cut soon after theonly preserves valuable plantNational Centre for Digitaltogether academia and surveys were completed,genetic material, but alsoInnovation (HNCDI) programindustry leaders to provide which prevented furtherfacilitates research, breedingdesigned to close the gapcloud-based tools that can buildup of disease. In addition,and development efforts tobetween academic and indus- be easily adopted by the no wheat is grown in the mainenhance agricultural produc- trial applications of digitalplant breeding companies to season in these areas. tivity and resilience. technologies - such as artificialsupport the development of Extensive follow up sur- This initiative will not onlyintelligence (AI) and quantumnext-generation crops with veys in the area and through- benefit farmers and research- computing. greater climate resilience and out other wheat growingers in Africa but also contrib- The UK is home to inno- improved nutritional proper-areas in the country resultedute to global efforts aimed atvative life science research.ties. The Earlham Institute is in no wheat being observedaddressing challenges suchInstitutions are using newworking with IBM Research and no detection of stem rust.as climate change, pests, andtechnologies to overcomeand STFC to develop new To date, extensive surveysdiseases affecting vegetableissues of scale and complex- cloud-based toolsincluding in other countries in Southproduction. The partner- ity in data-intensive biosci- those optimised for exploring Asia (Pakistan, Bangladesh,ship between the Worldence, such as developingplant pangenomeswhich Bhutan) have not detectedVegetable Center and theapproaches that could beRAGT Seeds UK will be road stem rust in 2023/24. Republic of China (Taiwan)used to accelerate croptesting. SWexemplifies the potential forbreeding in line with EU safety INTERNATIONAL EDITION 2024SEEDWORLD.COM /77'