New plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) have a great future, according to Dr. Paul Buddock, Senior Scientist at Keygen, a biotechnology company located in Wageningen, The Netherlands. He believes that “the technologies are being applied more and more in both fundamental and applied research and over time will become commonplace.”
Dr. Buddock leads one of the work packages, Development of Four Conceptually Different NPBTs. This work package specifically focuses on the development of genome editing techniques in chicory, which they established as part of the project. They have been able to create a large number of very interesting chicory lines for other partners. Dr. Buddock says that this work package also includes a “group of researchers and scientists working on self-incompatibility in chicory, which when solved will remove a significant barrier in chicory breeding.”
Keygen was invited to participate by the project’s main coordinator, Dr. Dirk Bosch, and they were happy to be part of the consortium. The chance to collaborate with academic partners, especially the chance to work on a new crop, is something that Dr. Buddock certainly enjoyed. He has enjoyed working with researchers with such a wide range of expertise, from the practical lab to the social scientists studying the acceptance of genome-edited chicory by consumers. Of course, he applauds the great work done by the artists, which gives the project a whole new dimension.
Dr. Buddock will miss the consortium itself and his regular interactions with his colleagues from the project. His favorite memory so far was when they were able to publish their joint results, together with Wageningen University, on the reduction of terpene compounds in the chicory root using genome editing techniques. Being in a company, he says that they don’t often publish results so this was a nice activity for them. He hopes that they can continue to work together on other projects in the future.
Keygene was set up in the late eighties by a number of Dutch vegetable breeding companies with an interest in biotechnology. The company remains a very important customer up until the present day. For a number of years, Buddock’s specialty has been the use of genome editing to improve crop plants for the future.
Work Package Leader
Dr. Paul Bundock, WP1 Coordinator
Development of Four Conceptually Different NPBTs (New Plant Breeding Techniques)