UK-BRC Representative Graham Teakle, from the University of Warwick, spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today this morning about the Vegetable Genetic Improvement Network (Vegin). You can listen to the interview on the BBC website until 9 January 2015. The segment starts at 10:38.

Speaking to Charlotte Smith, Teakle explained that Vegin is exploring the Warwick Genetic Resources Unit to find valuable traits in wild Brassica varieties. Wild plants grow and thrive in all environments, including poor quality soil, herbivory and difficult weather conditions. Vegin aims to make new varieties, containing certain traits from wild and older varieties, that will be able to grow with low fertiliser and pesticide input.

Vegin scientists have identified resistance to cabbage white fly and diamondback moth. Using traditional breeding methods, it will take 10-15 years before commercial varieties containing these traits will be released. Smith and Teakle discussed the fact that this process would be much faster with GM technology or genome editing techniques.

The UK-BRC has a factsheet about Vegin, which can be downloaded here.

 

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