A centerpiece of research in the Center for Plant Science Innovation is its plant biotechnology pipeline that allows members to translate basic discoveries in model plants, to crops that are of relevance to Nebraska and beyond. This pipeline has a target on innovations for increased crop production and profitability.
A key component of this pipeline is the Plant Transformation Core Facility that is managed by Eugene W. Price Distinguished Professor of Biotechnology Tom Clemente, and operated by the Center for Biotechnology.
Following evaluation in the greenhouse, genetically enhanced crops generated by the core are evaluated in biotechnology fields at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead, and in Sidney, near the Panhandle Research and Extension Center. This pipeline has demonstrated the effectiveness of several new technologies developed by PSI researchers, most notably the Dicamba herbicide resistance trait, which is one of the major new biotech traits on the market.
Additional research supported by the pipeline includes soybean resistance to aphids, an insect pest in the Midwest; improving aquaculture feed, which is a growing high-value market for Nebraska soybean farmers; and engineering sorghum and the emerging oilseed camelina for traits that increase the energy density of biomass and oil from these crops for next generation biofuels.
Not only has the pipeline benefitted PSI researchers, but it has sparked collaborations with scientists across the globe and start-up companies that lack the infrastructure for lab-to-field evaluation of their target genes.
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