Fastest gene sequencer lab in Argentina will be placed at Buenos Aires University

Buenos Aires, May 16th. Eduardo Pagano, team leader from FAUBA, was exultant. In a few weeks, the fastest DNA sequencer in  Argentina -a Illumina HISEQ3000- will be installed in the laboratories at the Agronomy Faculty from Bs.As. University (FAUBA). “We need this technology to support the breeding working of national seed companies. Local breeders will access the fastest DNA sequencer and molecular markers equipment in the country; this will enhance their breeding work based at conventional techniques and put them on an equal footing with global seeds companies”, told Pagano to

The new laboratory is the result of the initiative from UBATEC, a public-private platform from Bs.As. University, leading by former FAUBA dean, Mr. Lorenzo Basso. A group of six local breeders, Buck Semillas, Criadero Klein, Basso Semillas, Tobin, Argensun and Santa Rosa are involved in the project. Buck and Klein are focused in wheat breeding, while Tobin in sorghum, Santa Rosa in soybean, Argensun in sunflower and Basso in vegetable crops.

“We want to provide national breeders with the same technology that global seed companies are using to improve the crops. Moreover, this lab will permit the improvement of local crops like chía or quinoa, where there are no breeding programs”, added Mr. Pagano.

“Many years ago DNA was a complex and worth process that involves millions of dollars. Today, we can sequence a plant DNA in a few days and for less than 10,000 dollars”, explain Pagano.

The team leader clears up that this lab no necessary involves a GMO or New Breeding Techniques (NBT) approach, but enhance the conventional breeding work.

Currently, UBATEC is closing an agreement with Rosario National University and Mar del Plata University to engage capabilities. “Mar del Plata provides a phenotyping platform while Rosario contributes with its genetic manipulation expertise”, told Mr. Pagano.

The lab was acquired with a subsidy from Science and Technology Ministry, with an approximate value of 700,000 dollars. “We hope that with a similar investment we can access to a genotyping platform that enhances our capabilities”, concluded Mr. Pagano.

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