The NFU has welcomed plans to invest £13m in UK plant research
projects which aim to yield new crop varieties to help tackle future
industry issues including climate change.
Funding has been awarded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences
Research Council to 18 new projects which aim to solve real world
The research will look at problems including how to grow crops
able to cope with climate change, breed vegetables that remain
nutritious after days in the fridge and grow biomass crops more
effectively. The projects will use the latest knowledge of genetic
information to create varieties of crops and vegetables which will
meet specific challenges through selective breeding.
NFU vice-president Paul Temple said: “Investment in this
area is crucial for the future of agriculture in the UK as we need
smart scientific and technical solutions to the issues agriculture
will be required to tackle.
“These new projects are genuinely exciting and demonstrate
how important it is to ensure the UK puts adequate funding into
“It is now crucial to see this basic plant science translated
into new commercially viable crop varieties to benefit the industry,
consumers and the environment.”
1. In order to speed up the breeding of new, improved varieties
of plants it is necessary to know which genes control the desirable
properties. These genes are identified and then selected for conventional
breeding. This ensures a greater chance of getting the right gene
into the new generation of plants and in this way is distinct from
2. Research that will be funded include projects to:
- improve the shelf life of broccoli.
- increase the resistance of crops to insect pests as climate change
brings new challenges.
- breed willow varieties to create the most efficient biomass.
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