News | June 5, 2024

NRGene Advances Mas Seeds Maize Seed Breeding With Its Comprehensive Genotyping Solutions

Ness Ziona and Haut-Mauco /PRNewswire/ - NRGene (TASE: NRGN), a leading international genomics AI company, and Mas Seeds, an international seed company with activities in corn, sunflower, oilseed rape, and other plant species, announce the completion of a milestone in their 4-year collaboration agreement.

The collaboration between NRGene and Mas Seeds began more than a year ago with the goal of enhancing MAS Seeds' maize breeding program and significantly reducing its genotyping costs by utilizing NRGene's genotyping and imputation solution, SNPer™.

Genotyping plays a crucial role in agricultural breeding programs by helping researchers make informed decisions through better understanding of their genetic diversity. NRGene's SNPer™ is a genotyping solution designed to provide a customized Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) set tailored to the genetic diversity of a specific breeding program. With genotyping costs being a significant portion of the R&D budget, using SNPer™ panel design and imputation, a "reverse engineering" computational process, could save up to 70% of the costs.

Providing innovative and sustainable seed portfolio is one of the major ambitions for MAS Seeds®. Their researchers have been anticipating the climate and environmental changes for many years, and are continuously trying to improve the seeds. Therefore, creating sustainable genetic on the top of their breeding priorities:

  • Enhanced genetic tolerance against water scarcity
  • Genetic tolerance against increasing disease pressure
  • Secure feed efficiency in changing climate
  • Yield stability and adaptation to climate change and regional conditions

By carefully selecting and combining traits through crossbreeding, market assisted genomic selection, applying high-end genotyping methodologies and data driven research MAS Seeds aim to create improved hybrids Mas Seeds's breeding program transitioned to a tailored genotyping solution in maize by adopting SNPer™. Results from our ongoing project show 94% imputation accuracy when comparing (public) high density SNP array data to imputed data. In addition to cost reductions, this tight collaboration allows for better quality assurance of MAS Seeds' crossing and sampling schemes, improving the overall prediction accuracy and genetic gains of the breeding program.

NRGene and Mas Seeds are considering future expansion of this model to other crops and activities.

Maize is among the most widely produced and consumed cereal crops in the world, with farmers driving the market by choosing the best-performing varieties every year. Thus, the global seed market for maize reached USD 25.1 Billion in 2022 and is expected to exceed USD 41 Billion by 2029. Beyond its role as an international staple food, maize is also used for purposes including animal feed, biofuels, and industrial products.

Benoit Pétiard, Head of Research & Development at Mas Seeds, stated, "Collaboration with NRGene and the use of their genotyping technology allows us to accelerate our breeding program and rapidly deliver state-of-the-art maize seeds to the market. This collaboration allowed a reduction of ~50% of our genotyping costs, as well as liberating internal R&D resources and improving our selective breeding program's quality standards. The added value of NRGene's genotyping platform is the use of seeds tissue, which significantly reduces our DNA extraction costs, logistics and QC of our pedigree information, resulting in improved prediction accuracies."

Dr. Gil Ronen, CEO, and Co-founder of NRGene, stated, "Working on maize genomics for over a decade and improving our AI tools on mega maize genetic databases enable us to bring the most accurate data imputation and genomic predictions to our customers. This cost-effective genotyping and imputation solution especially benefits those companies with elite seeds, like Mas Seeds, who seek to increase yield, improve nutritional value, and enhance their breeding programs in a sustainable and economically viable manner."

About Mas Seeds
MAS Seeds® is a seed company subsidiary of MAÏSADOUR Group, which brings together more than 4,800 member farmers in the south-west of France. With more than 70 years of experience in seeds, MAS Seeds® develops an innovative and sustainable seed portfolio, seeds applied solutions and agro-services to support farmers towards changing agriculture. The brand is present in 50 countries on 4 continents thanks to its 13 subsidiaries.

Activities revolve around the 3 key professions of a complete seed company:

  • R&D teams apply modern breeding methodologies and combine them with field trials to select temperate, tropical corn and sunflower hybrids, develop a diverse crop portfolio and design agroecological solutions.
  • The operational teams produce quality seeds thanks to strict protocols within the plots of our network of producers and in our factories. They work continuously to ensure more sustainable seed production.
  • The sales and marketing teams are trained regularly to ensure quality customer service with close field support and innovative agro-services.

Management : Pierre Flye Sainte Marie (CEO) and Jean-Luc Capes (Chairman)

About NRGene
NRGene develops and commercializes cutting-edge AI based genomic tools that are reshaping agriculture and livestock worldwide. Our cloud-based software solutions are designed to analyze big data generated by next generation sequencing technologies in an affordable, scalable and precise manner. By applying our vast proprietary databases and AI-based technologies, we provide leading international agriculture, seed and food companies with computational tools to optimize and accelerate their breeding programs.
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Source: NRGene

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