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How innovation and technology supports the use of the UKVGB seed collections

A researcher extracts DNA in a laboratory

While seed collections like the UKVGB are a reservoir of genetic diversity, transferring this diversity into new crops can be difficult and time consuming. This section looks at how innovation and technological improvements are making this task easier and faster.

Using diversity more efficiently

It can take 10-15 years to develop a new crop variety by conventional breeding, particularly if the new variety contains traits from wild species related to the crop.

There are various approaches which can speed this process up; from using genetic markers to tag areas of the genome underpinning useful traits, through to genome editing where targeted changes are made to genes in order to alter traits such as disease resistance.

Understanding what genes underpin a trait like disease resistance can be a complex task in itself - any approach which streamlines this process will help to speed up the use of the diversity in genebank collections in the development of better crops.

Research tools and resources

How can we aid researchers and breeders in accessing the wealth of diversity in genebank collections?

Genome editing offers a new approach to developing new crop varieties

Using the diversity within samples to find disease resistance genes