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europeanseedVOLUME 3 ISSUE 2 INNOVATION POLICIES BUILDING CONSENSUS AND SETTING GOALS IS CRITICAL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE SEED INDUSTRY. RYEGRASS CREATING A DURABLE AND DESIRABLE TURF PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT UNION FRANAISE DES SEMENCIERS THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC VALUE OF PLANT BREEDING EUROPEAN-SEED.COM KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Dr. Robert Fraley Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Monsanto Dr. Patrick Moore Independent Ecologist Environmentalist Ecosense Environmental Inc. Secretary Tom Vilsack United States Secretary of Agriculture scheduled to speak Dr. Kevin Folta Professor and Chairman Horticultural Sciences Department University of Florida Fargo North Dakota USA SEPTEMBER 18-21 2016 Join us for the worlds top agricultural bioscience event Learn more sign up for email alerts and register today for early-bird rates at Hosted by North Dakota State University North Dakota Department of Agriculture and AdFarm 2016 TRACKS Plant Science Animal Health Innovations Food Health FIRST TIME IN THE UNITED STATES EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS FEATURES Innovation Policies A UK Perspective................................................................06 Plant Breeding Vital to the Economy Environment............................................08 The European Commissions GM Opt-Out Proposal........................................10 Crop Innovations in a Changing World Looking Back and Ahead..................14 How Much Plant Breeding Innovation is Politically Intended..........................18 Public Innovation Policies Relevant to the Seed Sector....................................22 Breeding Targets for Ryegrass in Europe ..........................................................24 Innovations in Ryegrass Breeding.......................................................................28 Regenerating Perennial Ryegrass .......................................................................30 DEPARTMENTS Editors Message .................................................................................................04 Global Seed Watch..............................................................................................31 Spotlight Union Franaise des Semenciers ......................................................32 Regulatory News..................................................................................................34 Industry News ......................................................................................................35 Extras....................................................................................................................38 Calendar of Events ..............................................................................................39 Giant Views...........................................................................................................40 24 14 08 06 europeanseed VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2 2 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM europeanseed EUROPEAN-SEED.COM VOLUME 3 ISSUE 2 Suite 34 67-68 Hatton Garden London EC1N 8JY United Kingdom PUBLISHER Shawn Brook EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Marcel Bruins MANAGING EDITOR Lindsay Hoffman STAFF WRITERS Julie Deering Mark Halsall Shannon Schindle Marc Zienkiewicz ADVERTISING SALES Craig Armstrong Hiten Shah DIGITAL MEDIA SALES Caleb MacDonald MARKETING Lynne Roy CREATIVE Theresa Kurjewicz Lesley Nakonechny DIGITAL MEDIA CREATIVE Kyle Dratowany CIRCULATION Dean French CONTRIBUTORS Kari Belanger Blanca Salas Ferrer Petra Jorasch Niels Louwaars Penny Maplestone Arthur Wolleswinkel ADVISORY BOARD Jennifer Clowes International Seed Federation Eric Devron Union Franaise des Semenciers Anton van Doornmalen Rijk Zwaan Stephanie Franck Plfanzenzucht Oberlimpurg Chris Green Green Resources Ltd. Martin Gruss Bayer CropScience Nigel Moore KWS UK Ltd. Jonathan Ramsay Monsanto Antonio Villaroel Asociacin Nacional de Obtentores Vegetales www.facebook.comEuropeanSeed twitter.comEuropeanSeed SUBSCRIPTIONS European Seed is published four times a year. European subscription rates are one year 20. International one year 75. To subscribe please email Please recycle where facilities exist. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Printed in England October 2016 0911 ROME Italy WHAT 3 full days of meetings business and networking possibilities. A unique opportunity for important policy discussions successful trade and professional exchanges. WHO More than 900 seed professionals from all around the world. WHEN October 9-11 2016. WHERE Hotel Rome Cavalieri Rome Italy. Register on as of April 1st and benet from the early bird registration fee before July 1st . For more information contact ESA is looking forward to welcoming you in Rome 4 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM EDITORS MESSAGE INNOVATION POLICIES HELLO MR. MALTHUS Marcel Bruins n my village and the surrounding area every day I see more prime agricultural land being gobbled up for housing apartments and industry complexes. Im wondering if this loss of agricultural soil will be sustainable in the long run or will we run out of good agricultural soil pushing farmers and growers to ever more marginal lands. And we will meet Mr. Malthus after all Towards the end of the 18th century Thomas Malthus wrote population growth generally expanded in times and in regions of plenty until the size of the population relative to the primary resources caused distress. Once we run out of sufficient amounts of key primary resources such as good agricultural soil one imagines agricultural production would slow down. However we need to produce at least 60 per cent more food by 2050 to feed the world. We can only balance the loss of good soil if through innovation the genetic progress of the plant varieties we sow is compensating for this and other negative effects. Since the middle of the 20th century global agricultural output has been able to keep pace with a rapidly growing population repeatedly defying the Malthusian predictions of global food shortages. And it is safe to say this happened only because of the continuous and breath- taking innovations in agriculture. For example between 1961 and 2005 the worlds population increased by 111 per cent from 3.08 to 6.51 billion whereas crop production rose by 162 per cent from 1.8 to 4.8 billion tons. One can increase agricultural production basically in two ways either by expanding the land area cultivated extensification or by improving crop yield from land already under cultivation intensificationresearch is telling us the gains observed since 1961 were largely intensive. Global cropland grew by 27 per cent from 960 to 1208 million hectares but total crop yield increased by 135 per cent from 1.84 to 3.96 tonnes per hectare weighted by production across crop groups. These yield gains were largely driven by dramatic increases in cereal and oil crops resulting from continuous innovation such as adoption of higher yielding crop varieties an increase in the use of fertilisers and crop protection products and improved access to irrigation and mechanisation. To determine the effect of genetic improvements on the total yield increase the UKs National Institute of Agricultural Botany carried out a study in 2008 in which 300 varieties of wheat barley and oats were analysed in 3600 trials leading to 53000 data points. I Previous studies had already indicated about half of the yield increase from 1947 to 1986 could be attributed to plant breeding. Improvements in fertiliser crop protection products and machinery accounted for the remainder of the yield increase. The 2008 analysis revealed more than 90 per cent of the yield increase could be attributed to the introduction of new varieties during the period from 1982 to 2007 in which yields went up from five to six tonnesha to eight tonnesha. This clearly shows the contribution of the genetic component to yield increase. In the recently released report The Economic Social and Environmental Value of Plant Breeding in the EU conducted by the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture Research GmbH the contribution of plant breeding was again strongly underlined. The report states on average across major crops cultivated in the EU plant breeding contributed about 74 per cent to total productivity growth equal to an increase of yields by 1.24 per cent per annum. In addition plant breeding increased primary agricultural product supply at levels of for instance 47 million tons of grains and 7 million tons of oilseeds thus stabilising markets and reducing price volatility. Genetic crop improvement added over 14 billion to the EUs GDP since 2000. Plant breeding also contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions about 3.4 billion tons of direct CO2 emissions were avoided in Europe thanks to plant breeding innovation over the last 15 years. And as if this all wasnt enough through plant breeding Europe was able to prevent biodiversity loss by preserving habitats the size of Latvia from being turned into farmland. Absent such innovations humanity could inadvertently cross a threshold where yield increases no longer match the necessary increments in global food production. This would lead to an accelerating conversion of natural forests with detrimental environmental impacts and to cropland expansion on unsuitable lands therefore requiring large capital investments intensive use of water and fertilisers and a much larger area for any increment in production. Lets not go there. Lets make way for plant breeding with all its innovations. Marcel Bruins editorial director European Seed 6 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM By Penny Maplestone he food riots and commodity price spikes of 2008 sparked a renewed policy focus on global food security and highlighted the precarious balance between production and consumption in the face of rapid population growth climate change and declining land water and energy resources. In the UK this resulted in a series of high- level policy statements inquiries and reports on food security all of which underlined the need to support productive hi-tech agriculture and the scientific innovation required to meet the food demands of a burgeoning world population. Perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of the pressures building on the global food supply system was the - UK governments Global Food and Farming Futures Foresight report in 2011 led by then UK chief scientist Professor Sir John Beddington. The Foresight report concluded that while efforts to reduce waste change diets and improve distribution systems all had a role to play the only realistic prospect of providing enough food for a world population set to exceed nine billion by 2050 was by increasing the output and efficiency of agricultural production. It emphasised the critical role of scientific and technological innovation in delivering the sustainable intensification of agricultureproducing more impacting less and consuming fewer resources. Foresight envisaged a central role for plant breeding in addressing the food security challenge highlighting the potential to apply both new and existing technologies to increase yields and improve nutrition to keep pace with the emergence of new pests and diseases and to develop crops more resilient to increased drought flooding and salinity arising from climate change. After decades of chronic underinvest- ment in productive agricultural research in the UK the Foresight report also called for increased public sector investment in applied agricultural research to ensure the potential benefits of a rapidly advancing knowledge base in biological genetic and data science could be transferred into farm-level application and impact. At the time this final recommendation aligned perfectly with UK plant breeders high-profile calls for research investment to reconnect the RD pipeline and ensure advances in basic plant science were translated into crop-based innovations of relevance to commercial plant breeders in the form of adapted germplasm traits markers and breeding tools. The UK governments policy response to the issues raised in the Foresight reportthe UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies Agri-Tech Strategywas announced in July 2013. This represents the strongest INNOVATION POLICIES The policy environment for the UK agritech sector is more positive today than at any time in recent decades driven by increased recognition of the strategic significance of agricultural innovation both in addressing the global food security challenge and as a powerful driver for economic growth. This provides an important platform to highlight the positive contribution of plant breeding and the ongoing challenges the industry faces. A UK PERSPECTIVE EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 7 recognition by any UK government in more than 30 years of the strategic importance of supporting a productive resilient and competitive farming sector and has signalled a renewed RD policy focus on building closer links between the research base and industry and refocusing investment on applied research and its translation onto the farm. On top of the 450 m currently spent each year on agricultural RD the Agri- Tech Strategy includes additional investment of 160 m over five years of which 90 m is supporting a new network of Centres for Agricultural Innovation in areas such as agri- informatics precision farming crop protection and livestock production. The remaining 70 m is allocated to a Catalyst Fund to help businesses improve the translation of promising new research into commercial application. A defining feature of the Agri-Tech Strategy is a stronger and more cohesive role for industry through strong representation on the leadership council overseeing the strategy and its implementation in forging new research partnerships and collaborations with the research base and in seeking greater alignment between industry RD funding and public sector investment. A number of UK plant breeding companies are already involved in research funded through the Agri-Tech Strategy including innovative projects to identify new sources of durable disease resistance enhance grain processing quality and to develop a new phenomics platform to improve breeding agronomy and variety selection. Encouragingly the Agri-Tech Strategys central objective to accelerate the translation of research into practice and establish closer links between the public and private sector is mirrored in other RD programmes of relevance to the plant breeding industry. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Councils BBSRC Crop Improvement Research Club and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs-sponsored Genetic Information Networks covering wheat pulses oilseed rape and biomass for energy provide a coherent framework for more effective coordination between the science base and commercial plant breeders. At a more strategic level direct industry involvement in relevant programmes of underpinning plant science pre-breeding and genomics research within UK research institutes and universitiessuch as the BBSRC-funded Wheat Improvement Strategic Programme Consortiumoffers scope to identify and develop valuable new traits markers and breeding tools. In terms of impact innovation in plant breeding has delivered major benefits across the UKs 100 billion food supply chain from farm- level improvements in crop yields and input use efficiency through advances in end-use quality to meet the processing needs of the food industry and the healthy eating demands of consumers. Two independent studies commissioned by the British Society of Plant Breeders have helped quantify the positive contribution of UK plant breeding. The first a 2009 study by UKs National Institute of Agricultural Botany highlighted the increasing significance of genetic improvement as the primary source of yield gain in the UKs major arable crops. Statistical analysis of UK trial data over the past 60 years found that while cereal yield increases prior to the early 1980s were due to a combination of factors such as increased mechanisation and more widespread use of fertil- isers and pesticides yield gains in UK wheat and barley over the past 25 years have been almost exclusively due to the genetic improvements deliv- ered by plant breeders. The second study by economists DTZ in 2010 found in just three crops wheat barley and forage maize the benefits of plant breeding to the UK economy are in excess of 1 billion per yeardelivered through increased yields and production efficiency on-farm as well as improvements in crop quality and seasonality leading to food processing efficiencies and import substitution. The report attributed a further 1.3 billion in safeguarded economic activity to the development of improved varieties. Overall the study concluded that every 1 invested in plant breeding through seed royalties adds 40 to the wider UK economya 40-fold return on investment which compares favourably with any research- based industrial sector. UK breeding innovation continues apace with major advances in quality wheat yields healthier varieties of barley oats beans and oilseed rape improved plant architecture in field peas the development of new herbicide tolerance and hybrid breeding systems and new sources of pest and disease resistance introduced into UK varieties. In contrast to the political and regulatory challenges facing agri-science innovation at the EU levelin areas such as GMOs pesticides and novel breeding techniquesthe UK policy environment has seen resurgent interest in modern science-based agriculture. Among UK politicians opinion formers and research funders there is now more explicit recognition of commercial plant breeding as a key factor in addressing the historic challenge of sustainable intensification in agriculture and a more tangible policy response for the need to bridge the gap between basic plant science research and its practical application. Dr Penny Maplestone is chief executive of the British Society of Plant Breeders. 8 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM new study on the socio-economic value of plant breeding in the European Union clearly shows the breeding sector has a strong positive impact on growth and employment as well as on environmental protection and biodiversity preservation. According to study author Steffen Noleppa plant breeding activities in the EU in the last 15 years resulted in numerous clearly measurable benefits for the economy the environment and also society at large. The results of this study should help better inform and facilitate an unbiased public debate on the importance of historic current and future genetic crop improvements for specific socio-economic and environmental objectives says Noleppa managing director of HFFA Research GmbH in Berlin. The study titled The economic social and environmental value of plant breeding in the European Union provides information that follows up on and supports a European Parliament report from 2014 which said the EU should play a leading role in the development of sustainable plant breeding techniques and in promoting agricultural and plant breeding research and practice. The study provides a number of key findings that represent science-based evidence showing the numerous benefits plant breeding is offering to European society and makes clear the socioeconomic and environmental value of plant breeding in the EU. Productivity Growth On average and across major crops cultivated in the EU plant breeding contributes about 74 per cent to total productivity growth since the turn of the millennium equal to an increase in yields by 1.24 per cent per annum. Considering academic literature and the obviously broad consensus in science it becomes apparent that plant breeding across all arable crops in the EU has a tremendous impact on productivity in arable farming Noleppa says. In the second half of the last century genetic improvements were responsible for half the progress made. Since the turn of the millennium this ratio has increased considerably. Based on this productivity growth on average yields and resulting production of arable crops in the EU would be more than 16 percent lower without genetic crop improvements according to the study. Stabilising Markets Plant breeding has increased primary agricultural product supply by a significant amount thus stabilising markets and reducing price volatility according to the study results. Higher yields per unit of arable land increase the EUs supply of primary agricultural products to international markets Noleppa notes. Because of plant breeding an additional 47 million tons of grains and seven million tons of oilseeds are currently produced in the EU he says. This contributes to not only stabilising VITAL TO THE ECONOMY ENVIRONMENT PLANT BREEDING By Marc Zienkiewicz A new study makes clear how important plant breeding is to the European Union. Study author Steffen Noleppa EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 9 the prices and markets but increasing potential world food supply. In fact Noleppa adds a remarkable drop in arable production would have occurred across all arable crops w ithout plant breeding. Production losses would have been highest with sunflower seeds cereals and some oilseeds. Such initial production losses would certainly affect markets. International commodity prices would change and might set alternative incentives for domestic market supply and demand leading to changing monetary outcomes for farmers and consumers but also society as a whole. Social implications might be expected as well. Those include global malnutrition reduced r u r a l i ncome a nd reduced employment in the EU. Environmental Benefits Plant breeding contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissionsabout 3.4 billion tons of direct CO2 emissions were avoided in Europe thanks to plant breeding innovation over the last 15 years Noleppa found. Thats because due to plant breeding innovations the EU has been able to prevent natural habitat from being turned into farmland. All this land is sequestering carbon both above and below ground. A tremendous part of this carbon would be released into the atmosphere in the form of CO2 if that land was used for farming he says. Based on his research Noleppa also found that a lot of biodiversity would have been lost by neglecting plant breeding in the EU since the turn of the millennium on top of what has already been lost in terms of global species richness. This is equivalent to the biodiversity found in 6.6 million hectares of Brazilian rainforest and savannahs. Industry Support Seed industry stakeholders welcome the reports findings with European Seed Association secretary-general Garlich von Essen saying it shows the importance of plant breeding innovation for the EU itself as well as its contribution to achieving overarching policy objectives like food security environmental protection and biodiversity preservation. Now we have quantitative data that proves this. It should be seen as a call-to- action to policymakers to ensure both science- based policy as well as a supportive regulatory environment that fosters and drives future innovation von Essen says. In short this report shows that supporting plant breeding innovation is first and foremost a great investment in our economic as well as our societal future. Aleksandra Malyska executive manager for Belgium-based plant sector stakeholder forum Plants for the Future Plant ETP says the study will serve as an important tool for the industry. Plant ETP recently hosted an official launch event for the study involving members of the European Parliament and other stakeholders to discuss potential contributions of plant breeding to the European economy society and environment. Informing political debate on the importance of genetic crop improvement for environmental and socio-economic objectives through unbiased quantitative and qualitative data is a must she says. Such science-based information should be widely available and should be a starting point when discussing the future of plant breeding in the EU. Malyksa notes that the sentiment among European Parliament members was that plant breeding has a key role to play if the sector wants to help meet the challenge of feeding a growing world population. This report shows that supporting plant breeding innovation is first and foremost a great investment in our economic as well as our societal future. Garlich von Essen The full report can be accessed online at bit.doplantetp-HFFAResearch. We share Johans ambition to surprise consumers time after time Johan Solleveld comes from a tomato-growing family and has been involved in variety development at Rijk Zwaan for over 30years. Thanks to his extensive experience and to the fact that he really speaks the growers language heknows exactly what to look out for when selecting new tomatoes. Over the years Johan has gained an ever-greater appreciation of the tomatos versatility and potential. He knows that nature can sometimes have surprises in store and how important it is to remain open to the resulting opportunities. In close collaboration both with colleagues and customers he strives to make a valuable contribution to creating tasty new products every day. It is Johans ambition to surprise consumers time after time. Rijk Zwaan a global specialist in vegetable breeding - shares this ambition. We are working together towards a healthy future. Learn more at 442262RZW_adv_Johan_181x129.indd 1 10-09-15 0754 10 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM ho is the EU Food and Feed Chain coalition Perhaps a more suitable question would be why the EU Food and Feed Chain FFC coalition In short this group of EU stakeholders teamed up as a result of the rapid developments in the area of regulation and use of modern biotechnology both in general and in terms of specific genetic modification in plant breeding seed production farming and food and feed use. The members of the FFC coalition work together to address the specificities of the use of these technologies in light of the distinct national or regional regulatory approaches in several parts of the world which have a unique and unprecedented impact on the EU agri-food chain. In this sense the EU FFC coalition represents different parts of the food and feed chain whose members are directly impacted by EU policies related to Genetically Modified Organisms GMOs. The FFC coalition gathers EU stakeholders involved in seed production and farming and trade and downstream use of agricultural commodities By Blanca Salas Ferrer and rice to elaborate practical non-discriminatory and science-based proposals with a view to minimise existing and potential future impacts on cultivation and trade as well as to ensure legal certainty and the freedom to operate for all industries concerned. In particular the FFC coalition brings together 14 organisations notably the Association of Poultry Processors and Poultry Trade in the EU European Association of Cereals Rice Feedstuffs Oilseeds Olive Oil Oils and Fats and Agrosupply Trade COCERAL Copa and Cogeca European Seed Association EuropaBio European Flour Millers European Vegetable Protein Association the federation representing the European Vegetable Oil and Proteinmeal Industry FEDIOL European Feed Manufacturers Federation FEFAC Federation of European Rice Millers FoodDrinkEurope Starch Europe European Livestock and Meat Trading Union and Unistock Europe. Throughout its busy years of existence the FFC has been active on a number of fronts. Today one of the most challenging questions on the FIGURE 1. EU food and feed supply chain. THE EUROPEAN COMMISSIONS GM OPT-OUT PROPOSAL Members of the EU FFC coalition share an inside view. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 11 table relates to the European Commissions legislative proposal to give individual EU Member States the flexibility to legally restrict or even prohibit the import and use of authorised GMOs for food and feed on their territories. For ease of reference this proposal will be referred to as the GM opt-out proposal. HOW DID WE GET HERE The GM opt-out proposal was tabled after the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker drew political attention to the GMO approval system in the EUarguably motivated at least in part by the media and political uproar in the aftermath of certain rulings of the European Court of Justice concerning GM maize 1507. As illustrated by Junckers statement below the proposal is an open attempt to translate a political wish into the technical level. I also intend to review the legislation applicable to the authorisation of GMOs. To me it is simply not right that under the current rules the Commission is legally forced to authorise new organisms for import and processing even though a clear majority of Member States is against. The Commission should be in a position to give the majority view of democratically elected governments at least the same weight as scientific advice notably when it comes to the safety of the food we eat and the environment in which we live said Juncker in his Political Guidelines published 15 July 2014. As they stand the rules for the authorisation of GM crops for food and feed use provide that each individual GM crop be authorised before being imported into the EU. This requires an extensive scientific risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority EFSA to ascertain its safety followed by a strict risk management procedure where Member States individually and jointly provide an opinion on the granting of the authorisation through two rounds of voting. If Member States fail to obtain the necessary majority to either support or reject an authorisation the Commission is compelled by the EU Treaties to formally adopt a decision. This is a system that therefore weighs Member States individual positions in view of reaching a common decision to authorise imports of GMOs. Although always a sensitive area when this system was democratically agreed upon by the European Parliament and Council in 2003 it was considered in line with the utmost respect for democracy and the founding principles of the EU including the internal market. Since its adoption and implementation more than a decade ago Member States have been unable to obtain a qualified majority in favour of or against any authorisation. This de facto compelled the Commission to formally adopt the authorisations in every case. While the functioning of comitology rules gathers no particular attention in other regulatory areas the special sensitivity of GMOs triggers strong criticism and political opposition which explains President Junckers alleged democratic deficit and the Commissions proposal to try to address the political conundrum. THE PROPOSAL IN A NUTSHELL Notwithstanding the current rules to authorise GMOs for food and feed purposes with its draft the Commission is proposing to permit that individual Member States be able to opt-out i.e. be excluded from such authorisationssomething that is granted at the EU level. In principle opting-out measures ought to be based on factors other than risks to human and animal health and the environment comply with the EUs international trade obligations notably its commitments under the World Trade Organization and be in line with internal market rules. In fact the proposal mirrors a parallel scheme affecting cultivation of GMOs in the EU since April 2015. At the time of writing this article the draft was tabled a year ago and it has undergone a number of legislative steps. The amounts of GM-free soy that are de facto available for use in the EU are much lowerthanthosethatarestatisticallyavailablegloballymostlyduetopoorquality and commingling issues i.e. the likelihood of traces of GM material despite costly segregation measures in place. Limited non-GM protein-rich feed material alternatives make the EU feed industry strongly rely on imports of soy. In terms of amino acid composition soy is the most completeproteinfeedmaterialonthemarketandreplacingthenutrientsdelivered by imported GM soy would require increased inclusion of other less efficient feed materials. The Economic Impact Assessment Indicates On the average of the marketing years 201213 to 201415 the EU used 28.5 mln t of soybean meal for feed i.e. 36.1 mln t in soybean equivalent. Out of this total more than 35 mln t or around 97 per cent were imported. The four potential opting-out countries considered in the Economic Impact Assessment i.e. France Germany Hungary and Poland used 12 mln t of soybean equivalent. Given an average protein and lysine an amino acid content in soybean meal of 46 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively soybean meal provides 4.4 mln t of raw protein and 265000 t of lysine to the livestock sector in the above-mentioned four countries. This in turn means that soybean meal represents 32 per cent of the total protein and 44 per cent of the total lysine that is used by the livestock sector in the opting-out countries. In this respect Figure 2 clearly shows the essential importance of soybean meal for the livestock sector. ConsideringthattheGMopt-outproposalwouldrestrictthecurrentlyexistingchoice between GM and non-GM food and feed and related efforts from operators as a means of commercial differentiation in opting-out Member States the bulk of GM soy in feed would have to be replaced by non-GM soy at a premium. The premium can vary between EUR 44t and EUR 176t i.e. 15 to 50 per cent of the value of the product.Consideringthe2015averagepremiumEUR80tplustheadditionalcosts atthecompoundfeedstageEUR30tthiswouldtranslateintoanincreaseofcosts for the EU livestock industry of around 10 per cent leading to an additional EUR 1.2 bln if four Member States opted-out or EUR 2.8 bln if the entire EU did so. Theimplementationoftheschemewouldinevitablyresultinalossofcompetitive- nessandsubsequentnegativerepercussionsforthelivestocksectorbothvis--vis non-opting-outMemberStatesandthirdcountriesandbothathomeandonglobal markets.TheEUlivestocksectorwouldlikelyneedtorelocateleadingtoadramatic loss of competitiveness resulting in lower investment income and employment generation in the sector. KEY FINDINGS OF THE COCERAL FEDIOL AND FEFAC ECONOMIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT ON THE EUROPEAN GM AUTHORISATION OPT-OUT PROPOSAL FIGURE 2. Share of individual feedstuffs in total lysine usage in the potentially opt- ing-out countries Source Strategie Grains Oil World Fachstufe Landwirt GTIS own calculations. PROCEDURAL MILESTONES OF THE GM OPT-OUT PROPOSAL 22 April 2015 The Commission tables its legislative proposal. 13 July 2015 Initial Member States feedback at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council. 13 October 2015 The Parliaments ENVI Committee rejects the proposal. The Committee of the Regions also recommends to reject the text. 28 October 2015 The Plenary of the Parliament rejects the proposal and requests a new draft from the Commission. 12 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM EU FFC PARTNERS VIEWS The FFC coalition has clear views on how the EUs GMO system should be strictly science-based predictable and timely and in line with legislation already in force. The FFC partners have gathered substantial evidence and rely on solid arguments to support their views that the GM opt-out proposal is very far from meeting the needs of the EU agri-food chain in view of maintaining if not enhancing its competitiveness. It is the opinion of the FFC coalition that if adopted the GM opt- out proposal would result in substantial commercial and legal risks for operators condemning those to overly high costs and undue trade disruptions. The agri-food chain is the largest employer in Europe today providing 44 million jobs. Threatening its competitiveness would be openly running against the EUs political priorities of jobs and growth and better and smart regulation. From a procedural standpoint the FFC partners regret that neither stakeholder consultation nor impact assessment was conducted. They note that the proposed system would create a dangerous precedent to lawfully contravene the founding principles of the EU whenever expedient in the future. Dismantling the internal market would also destabilise the commodities market in the EU and have a negative impact on the EU budget and its economy. To better assess the possible implications of the proposal selected members of the FFC coalition conducted an Economic Impact Assessment to analyse the potential adverse effects that look poised to arise in the event that four Member States opted-out within the terms of the proposal. COCERAL FEDIOL and FEFACs analysis describes a scenario where France Germany Hungary and Poland deliberately opt-out from GM authorisations for soybeans. Given that these countries represent around 30 per cent of the European soybean demand and that the vast majority approximately 90 per cent of soybeans and its derived products used for feed in the EU are GM this worst-case scenario would no doubt have severe implications. The Economic Impact Assessment takes stock of the fact that from a global viewpoint the EU is highly dependent on imports of protein-rich raw materials and products thereof for crushing and feed purposes mainly but not limited tooilseeds and meals. These protein-rich agricultural commodities are mostly GM-derived a feature that brings no added value per seat least in most cases. The nutritional characteristics of such GM crops are equivalent to those of their conventional counterparts. However enjoying unrestricted access to a protein-rich supply on the global market is absolutely crucial to ensure the viability and competitiveness of the EU agri-food industryas the EU does not and for a number of reasons cannot domestically produce sufficient protein crops to supply the demand. THE WAY FORWARD Despite the FFC partners opposition to the proposal the impact analysis of its potential implications has proven a rather useful exercise for the EU agri- food chain to speak with one voice and demand that efforts and resources be put at the service of the single most important goal making current EU deci- sion-making work. As gathered at the FFC coalition the concerned industries agree that the solution to the GMO authorisation problems can only be found in a timely and accurate implementation of the current EU ruleswhich keep scientific considerations at the heart of the authorisation system and take into account the views of democratically-elected governments. The members of the FFC coalition are convinced that it is critically important to preserve the core values of the EU the single market and free circulation of goods also in GMO decision-making. Authorisations must be strictly science-based and be granted in cases where they are in line with EFSAs independent risk assessment. GMO approvals need to comply with the EUs international trade commitments in order to secure the smooth function- ing of global trade relations with commodity-exporting countries essential to ensure the present and future competitiveness of the EU agri-food industry. As net importers of agricultural commodities EU operators along the food and feed supply chain must be able to compete internationally. Last but not least the legislative and regulatory environment in the EU needs to provide the much-needed legal certainty for economic operators. Clearly that is the only way forward to secure the economic viability of key industry sectors attract investment and create growth and jobs in Europe. In light of the need for a clear and consistent harmonised system ensuring availability of agricultural commodities at affordable costs in the EU and legal certainty for EU business operators the EU food and feed chain partners jointly call for an accurate and correct application of existing EU legislation on GMOs away from creative schemes that risk undermining core European values. FINELY CRAFTED SEEDS EXPERTS. Put your trust in our industry leading experts in wholesale seed and contract seed production. We are an open pollinated vegetable herb and flower seed company that offers you the knowledge resources and creativity to create quality beautiful and terrific tasting results. We serve the globe ask about our extensive inventory. Albany Oregon U.S.A. 541.928.7100 Seed Industry News Delivered Directly to Your InboxFeaturing industry news videos and articles that dive into important seed-industry issues. storyof theweekeuropeanseedby Subscribe at european-seed.comsubscribe Industry News Videos Important Issues 14 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM European Seed Why is a constant stream of innovations important for plant breeding and the seed sector Michiel van Eijk At present the most important driver for innovations in plant breeding and the seed sector are the challenges we face with respect to food insecurity as a consequence of the growing world pop- ulation and climate change. We all know by 2050 the world population is expected to grow to nine billion people. This means food production must be almost doubled. This has to be achieved with the existing land surface but with less water and less impact on the environment. As a result theres a strong call for better performing cropscrops suited to growth in more arid regions crops that are salt tolerant and can grow in regions where fresh water is scarce but salt water is available or crops that better withstand diseases and plagues. And of course crops with increased yield which is the most important and yet most complex trait in crops. Another driver for innovation comes from people like you and me. A growing group of consumers are demanding healthier and safer products. We want more choice and we look for food thats highly nutritious looks appetising and can be stored for a long time. A final point about what drives innovation has to do with the globally competitive environment the seed breeding industry works within. The introduction of new varieties to the market especially highly successful ones can make the difference between being successful Crop Innovations in a Changing World Looking Back and Ahead A look at ag-biotech company Keygene. By Kari Belanger Drivers of innovation in plant breeding and the seed sector ground-breaking technologies bioinformatics analysis and the importance of partnerships are but a few topics of discussion between Michiel van Eijk chief scientific officer at KeyGene and European Seed. In this interview Van Eijk elaborates on past present and future innovations that affect plant breeding. PhotocourtesyofKeygene EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 15 and becoming a market leader or missing out. Our highly competitive business is driven to a large extent by innovation through innovation companies can obtain and maintain a market share. ES What are some of the most ground-breaking breeding innovations of the past decade MvE Next generation sequencing NGS technology is one of the most ground-breaking innovations of the past decade. NGS was introduced in 2005 during the drive to sequence the human genome at a competitive cost. The crop industry immediately recognised the advantages of this fundamentally different approach to sequencing and has been able to utilise NGS technologies to advance molecular breeding research in crops. NGS technology represents in my mind a true revolution in genomic science. It became possible to sequence the genomes of a large variety of vegetable and field crops and it has really accelerated the pace at which the genetic basis of complex traits can be understood. Good examples of complex traits are yield and flavourthey have at least a dozen if not many dozens of underlying genes which all together are responsible for crop performance. In order to improve yield flavour or any other complex trait detailed information is needed from as many genes involved as possible. Without the developments in NGS research of these complex traits traits that are influenced by variations within several genes was nearly impossible. Up to that point research had focused mainly on simple traits so much has changed in the field of crop breeding. If you go back in time 10 years it took one year or sometimes much longer to identify the genetic basis of a simple trait. Now with a genome sequence at hand we have the ability to unravel complex traits in a short time span. It has changed the way plant breeding is taking place today. ES What have these developments in the field of NGS brought the breeding industry and seed sector so far MvE It is clear in the field of marker-assisted breeding crop breeding with the help of DNA markers which make selection of the correct plants possible at a very early breeding stagethere has been a sea of change. Not only have breeders and researchers gained access to the genetic codes of most important vegetable and field crops but at the same time there are no more limitations with respect to the number of molecular markers to use in their breeding programs. Whereas a decade ago for some crops it was very difficult to identify varieties and genetically differentiate between themtoday enough natural genetic information has been uncovered in most commercial crops for that no longer to be an issue. Thats a tremendous advantage for breeders. It really accelerates their breeding process and makes it more cost-effective at the same time. NGS technology has drastically changed the way we innovate our crops. ES Do you have any other examples of how crop breeding work has changed MvE Im really impressed by the way molecular mutagenesis technolo- gies have changed our work. With molecular mutagenesis technologies new variations can be introduced into crops essentially creating new traits. This can be done very precisely in a pre-selected location or it can be done randomly. It is too early to speak about concrete products or revenues as this is very recent technology however the prospects are very promising with regard to introducing new crop variations. For example due to the large size of oilseed rape Brassica napus plants they are at risk for lodging. This makes harvesting of the seeds more difficult with seed loss as a major consequence. We have solved this problem by using plants with a dwarf character and shortened stems. Having identified the genetic basis of the dwarf character variation was introduced in the large oilseed rape plants. This could be done without the loss of specific traits such as oil composition and seed yield. As a result the seeds of the newly developed plants could be harvested easier with less or even without seed loss. A big advantage of this method is this technology can be applied in a companys own breeding material. Another important aspect is crops developed with molecular mutagenesis can be brought to market faster compared with traditionally developed crops in addition its faster and much more cost-effective than GM crops. I strongly believe that this is a particularly important development for all breeding companies. ES What did KeyGene contribute to innovation for breeding MvE KeyGene is active in both areas of innovation mentioned above. With respect to sequencing activities we are an inventor of sequence- based breeding and a strong believer in using NGS technologies to advance crop species. In fact we were the first to sequence the melon genome. Using NGS technologies we contributed to unravelling the genome of several vegetable and field crops such as tomato and cottonall agronomically important crops. We continue to work at the forefront of these developments. Although the production of genetic data is no longer an issue extracting relevant information from it still is. We are also developing dedicated software tools for working with these enormous amounts of sequencing data. FIGURE 1. The wild-type oilseed rape plant left and the lodging-resistant oilseed rape plant right. MOLECULAR MUTAGENESIS TECHNOLOGIES Molecular mutagenesis is the increase of natural genetic variety by creating DNA mutations. The difference between molecular mutagenesis and genetic modification is the formers lack of cutting and pasting DNA. Moreover no alien DNA is introduced but instead the crops own DNA is used. Key to molecular mutagenesis is the introduction of mutationthe basis of biological evolution and hence the origin of new species. It means mutation can be used to improve crops. Treating seeds with chemicals will introduce mutations in random DNA locations. Using NGS technologies its possible to select plants with desirable trait mutations. By cross-pollinating these plants with the original specimens and selecting them for their mutations you end up with the original plants containing the desired mutated traits. This is random molecular mutagenesis technology. There are other technologies however which can introduce a site-directed single mutation. Both methods aim to introduce new crop varieties. 16 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM With respect to molecular mutagenesis we are active in both targeted and random mutagenesis technologies. We apply proprietary technologies for our clients which in combination with highly accurate phenotypingmeasuring visible plant characteristicsallows for rapid identification of plants with improved traits. ES The aforementioned innovations are occurring within the breeding sector. Are there any innovations outside our sector that have had a major impact MvE Many developments relevant to the crop breeding industry take place in the field of human research. NGS technology is one of them. Activities such as highly automated sample preparation to process bio- logical samples on a large scale in a cost-effective way are innovations mostly initiated in the medical field. Subsequently these developments will be picked up in the plant field and also by KeyGene to develop technologies for crop applications. Another field which is important in this context is bioinformatics analysis. All innovations discussed so far rely to a large extent on the ability to process analyse and interpret large sets of complex data. Over the past 10 years the area of bioinformatics has grown significantly in importance. Nowadays bioinformatics is an intrinsic part of innovation. Complex and large amounts of data i.e. big data are hot at the moment. With respect to bioinformatics in our field we wouldnt be able to innovate without the ability to interpret big data. Looking forward innovations in many industry sectors and expertise areasfor example in the pharmaceutical e.g. stem cell biology engineering e.g. digital phenotyping and information e.g. data interpretation industrieswill impact innovation in the breeding sector. ES What are crucial aspects to stay at the forefront of innovation MvE I strongly believe that partnerships are increasingly important in order to solve complex problems. A multi-disciplinary approach is key to todays and tomorrows breeding challenges. Through partner- ing we can leverage external knowledge from industry academia and consortia and we can team up to find solutions for the big challenges the world is facing. You cannot expect yourself to be a leading expert in every field so choosing appropriate partners to co-develop products and jointly strive to innovate is of growing importance. It might not be unique to our sector but it is of the utmost importance. In order to realise this you must be an attractive partner yourself. This requires a culture that stimulates creativity teamwork and the desire to really make a difference. Partnerships are crucial to innovation. You cannot be a leading expert in every field. A good example of cross-border collaboration is city farming. It is a relatively new concept in which crops are grown in cities in closed environments under artificial light. We are preparing a pilot scheme to combine our expertise on plants and plant characteristics with greenhouse growth chamber and LED technology provided by other companies in order to develop new crops ideally suited to city farming. This concept has great potential and offers added value for consumers in large cities all over the world where production and availability of fresh food can be a major challenge. ES We talked about what companies can do to boost innovation. But what aspects should be changed in the regulatory field to stimulate innovation MvE Innovation cycles are rapidly becoming shorter. However I have noticed there is a discrepancy between technological capabilities on one hand and support from the regulatory environment on the other. It is of the utmost importance this gap is somehow reduced. Technological capabilities demand legal certainty so they can be deployed in the market. At the same time I fully understand policy- makers the people who make the regulatory decisions struggle to get an in-depth understanding of complex subjects such as new breeding technologies NBT. Ultimately we need to work together otherwise there will be no innovation. ES In other parts of the world the gap you describe seems to be much smaller. Technologies under discussion in Europe are allowed to be used in other parts of the world. What do you think about that MvE Apparently in some parts of the world the regulatory climate is more favourable to innovation. The application of NBT in particular has been hampered by the absence of legal certainty in Europe. This is a real burden for the breeding industry. If the legal framework remains unclear on whether or not commercialisation of new technologies is supported sooner or later it will affect a companys motivation to invest in research. Ultimately it should be a sensible business model that drives the innovation. If the regulatory climate is unclear it will obviously hinder innovation. Regulation can be a burden but also a boost for innovation. ES Lets have a look at the future. Which exciting crop innovations can be expected MvE I imagine one of the forthcoming innovations might be that genetic analysis will be conducted in the field by the breeders themselves. There are still a large number of routine analysis methods and research activities that have to be performed in expensive laboratories. I expect our future certainly includes the possibility of crops being analysed remotely in the field or in a greenhouse. As a consequence the process of plant selection will be so much faster and the whole breeding process will be accelerated. It will require miniaturisation of equipment and very fast read-out methods but there are already developments in that direction as we have seen with miniaturised DNA analysis equipment. The same holds for digital phenotyping capabilities yet another innovation that started about five years ago. Digital phenotyping makes crop phenotyping much more objective. It no longer relies on the experienced but nevertheless subjective interpretation by breeders. With digital phenotyping high throughput automated equipment with digital cameras is being used to measure crop performance. Bioinformatics subsequently takes care of the extraction of objective information. As with remote crop research work the first steps have been taken to perform bioinformatics analytics in the field. Its early days yet but Im sure in future these types of research will be performed in the field. ES These are technical developments. What about the future of traits MvE I expect more output-related traits will be unravelled and will be used for crop improvement. I think smart allocation of the increased technological repertoire to drive crop innovation will translate into even faster development of new varieties with better resistance better flavour higher yields and a better ability to grow in harsh environments such as dry climates or highly saline soils. ES Do you think that crop breeding will fundamentally change in the near future MvE To fundamentally change crop breeding is a long-term challenge. First of all it requires a lot of in-depth knowledge of the mechanisms of plant reproduction. Secondly changes have to be compatible with a viable business model. Thus I dont think those changes will come very rapidly. In the short term thanks to the latest advanced technologies breeding will be further accelerated and will become more cost-effective. Its beyond any doubt in the next decade we will see more ground-breaking innovations in crop breeding and the seed industry. KeyGene finds itself in a dynamic fast-developing field with great potential to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. Michiel van Eijk is the chief scientific officer at KeyGene. Increase Your Success in developing superior hybrids and varieties with the global software solution for plant breeding and agronomy. 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Winnipeg Manitoba Canada Phone 1-204-487-4245 Email Registered trademarks cited are the property of their trademark owners. Learn more from our Discovery Tutorials and 3-minute movie at www.agronomix.commovie Used worldwide when success counts. Is Your Working For You Plant Breeding Software Are you going to the ISF World Seed Congress in Uruguay Visit us at our exhibit booth May 15-18 2016 for more information and a demonstration of AGROBASE Generation II and AGROBASE Tablet. Find out more New AGROBASE Cloud We provide AGROBASE Generation II Software as a Service accessible globally hosted in highly secure datacenters around the world. Contact us at for more information. 18 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM lant breeders have always strived to create new variations of plant characteristics to provide solutions for disease and pest resistance to achieve higher yields to increase tolerance to environmental stress and to breed new plant varieties that meet consumer expectations. Plant domestication started some 10000 years ago by farmers selecting the best performing plants in a field. It was not until 12000 years later that the rediscovery of Mendels laws of heredity in the early 1900s turned the first plant breeding efforts from an art into science and specialised farmer-breeders emerged building a business concept on their efforts. From that point in time scientific breakthroughs in agricultural and biological sciences have accelerated. With an increased understanding of plant biology and plant genes plant breeders have constantly improved their breeding tools to include a wide variety of breeding methods. The development of newer plant breeding methods did not lead to a complete replacement of the older ones. Depending on the problems plant breeders have to solve they must be able to choose the tools that enable them to reach their breeding goals in the most efficient and specific way. Conventional plant breeding methods transgenesis or newer plant breeding methods are all essential components of the plant breeders toolbox. Building on the mechanisms created by nature the latest innovations in plant breeding methods simply achieve the relevant breeding results in less time and with greater precision. A key issue not only for plant breeders worldwide but also for society as a whole is the evolving government public policies that govern plant varieties developed through the latest plant breeding methods. To ensure the use of these breeding methods is not stalled at the research and development stage clear public policy is essential. EU REGULATORY FRAMEWORK In the EU the harmonised regulatory framework dealing with organisms produced by modern bio-techniques GMOs dates back to 1990. Although GMO legislation has been revised during recent years and additional legislation came into force in 2003 to regulate food and feed derived from GMO crops the GM definition has not changed. 1 According to the Directive 200118 a genetically modified organism GMO means an organism with the exception of human beings in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating andor natural recombination. This definition takes the process with which an organism has been created as well as the product the genetic modification into account. During the last 25 years newer plant breeding methods have been developed. They create new challenges for regulators when applying the GMO definition from 1990. Crops produced by some of the newer breeding methods cannot be distinguished from their conventionally bred counterparts. Enforcement issues will likely be raised because seeds and commodities derived from most of the newer breeding methods are indistinguishable from those derived from traditional breeding and plants resulting from newer breeding methods cannot be identified as such. Regulatory costs for plant varieties falling under the current GM law are much higher than those needed for the approval and registration of non-GM plants. In 2007 the EU commission asked a group of experts from Member States competent authorities MS Expert Working Group to evaluate How Much Plant Breeding Innovation is Politically Intended A closer look at the politics surrounding the newer plant breeding techniques. By Petra Jorasch Figure 1. Milestones in Plant Breeding In the previous issue of European Seed we provided a technical overview of the new plant breeding techniques that have been developed so far. This issue addresses the regulatory environment surrounding these NPBTs. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 19 a list of eight newer plant breeding methods in the context of the current EU GMO legislation Directive 200118. The outcome of the evaluation has never been published officially by the EU Commission. However the majority of the experts came to the conclusion that six of these newer breeding methods do not result in a GM plant. Other expert groups and plant breeders associations came to similar results see Table 1 Although these experts are aligned with regard to the outcomes of their evaluations the EU Commission has still not come to a conclusion. The publication of guidelines by the Commission has been delayed several times. Non-governmental organisations some organic farming organisations and a German environmental authority published legal expert reports which had come to the conclusion that all newer breeding methods have to be regulated under current GM law because the GM definition of the EU legislation is according to their interpretation a pure process-based definition excluding the characteristics of the product created by those processes. These entities blame industry for trying to introduce GM through the backdoor. Their legal expert statements were questioned by other official statements such as the Opinion on the Legal Classification of New Plant Breeding Techniques in particular ODM and CRISPR-Cas9 which was published by the German competent authority in December 2015.5 This statement came to the conclusion that plants which exhibit point mutations induced by means of ODM and CRISPR-Cas9 techniques do not constitute GMOs within the meaning of the Directive. It is not only the use of a genetic engineering method that is decisive for classification as GMO but also the resulting product. This must differ from plants which could also arise through conventional breeding methods. For the point mutations in question here this is not the case. Those genetic modifications could also arise through other mutagenesis techniques. A well-known expert from the organic sector raised his voice on the potential of newer plant breeding methods saying CRISPRCAS has great potential and You can turn off genes for susceptibility to disease or insert from the related wild plant resistance genes back into modern varieties.6 SIMILAR NEEDS SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY AND SEED SECTOR The scientific community in Europe is alarmed by the ongoing debate and legal uncertainty which impede scientific progress. According to a statement issued by the European Plant Science Organisation it welcomes the outcome of the majority opinion of the Member States expert working group report and asks the European Commission as a matter of urgency . to provide legal certainty for science and industry concerning the application and exploration of New Plant Breeding Techniques. 7 In addition the scientific community asks for a more detailed and comprehensive discussion on a new approach for the regulation of new plants that might be exclusively based on the new characteristics of a producttrait. They also address the requirement that such a concept needs a clear and reliable definition based on scientific evidence of what constitutes a novel plant trait and thus needs to be assessed by an appropriate body legal certainty to avoid overregulation whereby an unwarranted number of processes and products will have to undergo expensive and lengthy authorisation procedures creating a disadvantage for small- and medium-sized enterprises and scientists. LEGAL CERTAINTY IS ESSENTIAL Governmental policy must be firmly based on sound scientific principles to avoid the risk of impeding innovation in plant breeding otherwise farmers access to better varietiesand consequently the availability of improved and sufficient products for consumersis in danger. Regulatory policy will determine utilisation of methods across companies and across crops. An overly high regulatory burden will limit utilisation to the largest companies and cash crops e.g. corn soybeans as well as to a limited number of traits e.g. herbicide tolerance. While products from newer breeding methods are in the RD pipeline of several if not the majority of public institutes and companies only one company has asked for regulatory assessment in some EU Member States. In 2015 the US-based company Cibus developed a herbicide-tolerant rapeseed variety using ODM a breeding method which results in a non-GM product according to the expert reports listed in Table 1. Regulatory bodies in Germany Sweden the United Kingdom and Finland took the position that the Cibus rapeseed is non-GM and could be released without approval. The EU Commission intervened asking Member States to forbid the growing of rapeseed plants until the Commission came to a conclusion regarding the legal interpretation of Directive 200118. In addition several NGOs objected to the decision of the competent authority in Germany but the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety rejected the objection against its decision. All these activities have triggered a public debate about the future regulation of new plant breeding techniques. Breeding Method MS Expert Working Group Report German Commission on Biological Safety ZKBS2 European Seed Association ESA3 EFSA4 Current GM procedures for environmental safety assess- ment applicable and sufficient Detectability of Genetic Modification1 Oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis ODM non-GM non-GM non-GM similar to natural or induced mutagenesis no Zinc-Finger Nuclease 12 non-GM non-GM non-GM similar to natural or induced mutagenesis no Zinc-Finger Nuclease 3 GM GM GM yesless off-target effects compared to transgenic plants yes Cisgenesis GM GM GM yescomparable to conventional breeding yes Grafting of non-GM scion onto GM rootstock non-GM non-GM non-GM no Agroinfiltration non-GM non-GM non-GM no RNA-dependent DNA methylation RdDM non-GM non-GM non-GM no alteration of genetic material no Reverse Breeding non-GM non-GM non-GM no Table 1. Comparison of the outcomes of the different expert groups on the analysis of the applicability of EU GM law Directive 200118 on newer plant breeding methods. Evaluation of the fruits 20 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM HARMONISED GOVERNMENT POLICIES Maintaining and increasing agricultural production is a global concern so there is clearly a need for harmonised government policies. Harmonisation facilitates the trade and movement of seed and helps create a level playing field. Consistent science-based policy means farmers and consumers around the world can enjoy the benefits of products developed through the latest breeding methods.8 So far there are only a few precedents of governmental decisions regarding whether a crop obtained by a newer breeding method is under regulation usually applied specifically for GMOs.9 Argentina is the first country that has adopted its GM regulatory framework to be applicable to newer breeding techniques. In the United States there are ongoing discussions for a revised regulatory framework10 although the first products from newer breeding methods have Crop Breeding Method Description Publication Wheat TALEN Wheat powdery mildew resistance all six Mlo alleles have been modified simultaneously resulting in deletions in the coding sequence of Mlo. Wang Y.P. et al. 2014 Simultaneous editing of three homoeoalleles in hexaploid bread wheat confers heritable resistance to pow- dery mildew. Nat. Biotechnol. 32 947951 Rice TALEN Generating bacterial leaf blight resistance in rice using TALENs. Bacterial leaf blight caused by Xanthomonas oryzae is the most widespread pathogen in rice. Li T. et al. 2012 High-efficiency TALEN- based gene editing produces disease-resistant rice. Nat. Biotechnol. 30 390392 Soy TALEN TALENs were used to generate soybean plants in which the fatty acid profile was dramatically changed to avoid undesired polyunsaturated fatty acids by induction of ho- mozygous mutations in two different FAD coding genes. Haun W. et al. 2014 Improved soybean oil quality by targeted mutagenesis of the fatty acid desaturase 2 gene family. Plant Biotech- nol. J. 12 934940 Potato TALEN Using TALENs in a commercial tetraploid potato variety the accumulation of reducing sugars during cold storage was switched off by knocking out all four alleles of the potato vacuolar invertase gene Vlnv. Tubers from full Vlnv-knockout plants had undetectable levels of reducing sugars and processed chips contained reduced levels of acrylamide. Clasen B.M. et al. 2015 Improving cold storage and processing traits in potato through targeted gene knockout. Plant Biotechnol. J. Published online April 72015. Maize ODM Maize plants tolerant to imidazolinone herbicides have been engineered through targeted modification of the endogenous acetohydroxyacid synthase AHAS gene. Zhu T. et al. 2000 Engineering herbi- cide-resistant maize using chimeric RNA DNA oligonucleotides. Nat. Biotechnol. 18555558 Apple Accelerated breeding with early flowering genes Induced early flowering has been applied to fruit trees to accelerate breeding. Fruit species such as apple Malus x domestica and plum Prunus domestica have a long generation time 5-7years. As a consequence fruit breeding takes a long time especially when novel traits from related wild species are introgressed and multiple generations are required to remove genetically-linked undesired characteristics from the wild fruit species. By overexpression of the BpMADS4 gene from silver birch Betula pendula early flowering was successfully intro- duced resulting in flower induction in seedlings within the first year. These early flowering transgenic lines were then used for a fast breeding program in which disease resistance genes were stacked. In the end the transgenic early flowering trait was crossed out resulting in a non- GM end product. Flachowsky H. et al. 2011 Application of a high-speed breeding technology to apple Malus x domestica based on transgenic early flowering plants and marker-assisted selection. New Phytol. 192 364377 Rapeseed Barley CRISPR CRISPR was used to make targeted changes or edits to specific genes in two UK crops a broccoli-like brassica and barley. In barley the gene that was edited is thought to affect grain dormancy this is an important agricultural trait. In brassica the edited gene affected the ease with which the seed pods shattered. Lawrenson T. et al. 2015 Induction of targeted heritable mutations in barley and Brassica oleracea using RNA-guided Cas9 nuclease. Genome Biology 16258 Arabidopsis CRISPR The same mutant produced five times but which ones are within the scope of the European GMO legislation A. The radiation mutant B. The chemically induced mutant C. The T-DNA mutant D. E. The modern genome edited mutan The Arabidopsis thaliana PsbS mutant httpwww.upsc.sedocumentsNews Arabidopsis_PsbS_mutants.pdf Table 2. Examples of crops and traits produced by newer breeding methods with scientific references. already been cleared by the United States Department of Agriculture as being non-GM.11 In Canada the whole regulatory system is established on a product- based approach whereby the process of creating a new plant is more or less irrelevant to its regulatory status. These few examples show the diversity of regulatory approaches worldwide. However inconsistent policies make research collaborations difficult and have a negative impact on commercial seed and commodity trade in agricultural products. From a competitive point of view inconsistent policies will have differential negative impact on plant breeding innovation across countries because access to genetic diversity which is a prerequisite for successful breeding will be restricted by regulation. In the end the range of new varieties for farmers and new products for consumers will be determined by different regulatory burdens. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 21 Turf Grasses Forage Crops Cover Crops Oilseed Rape Cereals Maize Organic Seeds We know turf Research breeding production and sales Deutsche Saatveredelung AG DSV is the Number1turf grass breeder in Germany. Our premium varieties head all turf grass lists in Europe from sports pitches and golf courses to parks and private gardens. Furthermore we offer a wide range of cultivars.Working as a full-liner we supply seeds from the following crops DSV_Anz_ImageRasen_Int_88s271_160316_HiRes.indd 1 16.03.16 1708 1 Lusser et al. 2011. New Plant Breeding TechniquesState- of-the-Art and Prospects for Commercial Development JRC Scientific and Technical Reports. 2 Stellungnahme der ZKBS zu neuen Techniken fr die Pflanzenzchtung June 2012 SharedDocsDownloads06_GentechnikZKBS01_Allgemeine_ Stellungnahmen_deutsch04_PflanzenNeue_Techniken_ Pflanzenzuechtung.pdf__blobpublicationFilev3 3 ESA Position on New Breeding TechniquesEnsuring Progress and Diversity in Plant Breeding 2012 httpswww.euroseeds. eusystemfilespublicationsfilesesa_12.0446.2.pdf and httpswww.euroseeds.euesa150543-regulatory-approach- es-modern-plant-breeding-case-mutagenesis-and-new-gene-ed- iting 4 Scientific Opinion Addressing the Safety Assessment of Plants Developed Using Zinc-Finger Nuclease 3 and Other Site- Directed Nucleases with Similar Function EFSA Journal 201210102943 31 pp. and Scientific Opinion Addressing the Safety Assessment of Plants Developed through Cisgenesis and Intragenesis EFSA Journal 20121022561 33 pp. and EFSA Mandate M-2015-0183 from 15.10.2015. 5 httpwww.bvl.bund.deSharedDocsDownloads06_ GentechnikOpinion_on_the_legal_classification_of_New_ Plant_Breeding_Techniques.pdf__blobpublicationFilev2 6 httpwww.ask-force.orgwebOrganotransgenicMaurin-Niglli- CRISPR-Great-Potential-TAZ-20160406.pdf 7 EPSO statement on Crop Genetic Improvement Technologies httpwww.epsoweb.orgfile2038 8 httpwww.worldseed.orgwp-contentuploads201603PBI_ statement_2016.docx 9 Agustina I Whelan and Martin A Lema Regulatory framework for Gene Editing and other New Breeding Techniques NBTs in Argentina in GM Crops Food 6253265 2015 10 httpswww.whitehouse.govblog20150702improving-trans- parency-and-ensuring-continued-safety-biotechnology 11 Schiemann Hartung. Safety assessment and regulation of new plant breeding technologies. In Proceedings of the Plant Biotech Denmark Annual Meeting 2013 httpplant-biotech. dkannual_meeting2013schiemann.pdf ENDNOTES SUPPORT INNOVATION IN PLANT BREEDING POLICY-MAKERS Keeping in mind the global challenges associated with feeding 11 billion people in 2050 and the severe negative impact of climate change on agriculture innovation in plant breeding is one of the key factors to overcoming these adversities. A responsible policy should therefore intend to make the tools for creating innovation in agriculture available. This can be accomplished by not regulating plants that are similar or indistinguishable from varieties produced through established breeding methods or have been created by nature. Innovation needs legal certainty and regulation should be grounded in sound scientific principles. Inappropriate regulation and associated costs will impede the utilisation of innovative breeding methods. Government policies should facilitate innovation and utilisation of advanced breeding applications by public and private plant breeders in developed and developing countries and harmonised policies are essential for both research collaboration and trade. Editors Note Petra Jorasch is vice-secretary general of the German Plant Breeders Association BDP. 22 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM nnovation is the driving force behind the seed sector. Companies that fail to invest in research and development are bound to end up at the tail end of the market very quickly. The European Seed Association estimates investment in RD at 15 per cent of the turnover on average whereas some companies manage to invest up to 30 per cent. A lot of innovation thus stems from company investment. However we shouldnt think we can do it all on our own. Governments are important for creating an environment that stimulates investment in research and to maintain a knowledge infrastructure that trains the next generation of bright in-company innovators who come up with breakthrough innovations. Innovation policies therefore play a crucial role in the development of a vibrant seed sector. Innovation policies may consist of several components the most important relate to tax incentives support for public research and the protection of intellectual property. Much has been written about the latter and a brief summary may suffice here plant breeders rights their efficient procedures and effective enforcement complemented by patent trademark and trade secret systems that are well aligned and balanced with breeders rights are crucial for an innovative seed sector. With regard to tax incentives a wide array of opportunities exist. Countries may have zero or reduced company tax levels PUBLIC INNOVATION POLICIES RELEVANT TO THE SEED SECTOR for income derived from breeders rights or other intellectual property. Others may make investments in RD infrastructure and or expenses for staff involved in RD tax deductible. Such measures are very relevant to our sector even though research managers sometimes complain they may not have a final say in the use of amounts thus saved. The third component warrants extra attention. Despite enormous investments in RD by private companies the public research infrastructure has proven to be a critical aspect to the success of the commercial seed sector. Various models exist in different countries. With regard to breeding in the public sector the United States and the Netherlands may be extremes. The United States has a history of plant breeding in the public sector spearheaded by the navy collecting potentially useful materials worldwide in the 19th century and testing and adapting those materials to U.S. conditions at land grant universities. Even nowthough the trend is fast declining in recent years variety development of most crops is still taking place at universities. Private breeding concentrates on some major field crops and vegetables. On the other hand in Europe plant breeding in the 19th century started in the private sector. The names of initial seed entrepreneurs still persist in todays seed business such as Vilmorin Desprez and Groot. Following that history the public sector in the Netherlands has explicitly avoided developing varieties in the public sector when private breeders are present. Instead the public sector concentrates on supporting private breeding through upstream breeding research. For example in the early 1980s carnation breeding was virtually dead because there was little to improve on the big red pink and white varieties. When the Institute for Horticultural Plant Breeding through interspecific crosses developed innovative multi-floral carnations with a wide diversity of colours it was not allowed to release finished varieties since some flower breeders were eager to step into this new range of products. The half-bred material was given to these breeders and they developed a thriving carnation breeding industry once again. This strict arrangement was to a large extent the result of excellent cooperation between the public and private sectors with representation of the private sector on the boards of public institutes. Actual plant breeding at Wageningen University is done on apples pears and new field crops such as quinoa and Crambe only. Currently public-private collaboration is the standard for research policies in the Netherlands and increasingly European Union policies as well. Public-private projects are excellent in applied and what the EU calls industrial research. However some negative consequences have been observed already. Where private contributions BY NIELS LOUWAARS EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 23 to projects amount to 50 per cent as is the case with industrial research in the Netherlands for applied research it is 80 per cent private research institutions face problems maintaining critical mass in certain disciplines especially those most relevant to farmers and small enterprises. These institutions find it hard to bring together sufficient funds for projects on for example plant tissue culture. This problem is much less pronounced in France where the National Institute for Agricultural Research still has basic government funding of 80 per cent. Policies towards public-private cooperation may also go too far. The Netherlands is now also promoting private co-funding in fundamental research. There is a serious risk that this will pull down fundamental research funding to the more applied topics disregarding the starting point of the innovation pipeline fundamental research based on the curiosity and creativity of top-level scientists. We continue to need blue-sky ideas as the basis of breakthrough innovations. Plant breeding is by definition a science based on the combined efforts of plant science agronomy and genetics. We have benefited greatly from ideas derived from mathematics statistical breeding methods organic chemistry molecular biology and information technology bioinformatics. We dont know which scientific discipline will provide the next positive disruption that revolutionises plant breeding. Such blue- sky developments will likely not come from breeding companies so we need to nurture universities where crazy ideas are allowed to be pursued. Such universities will also produce the best creative minds that will further develop our industry. If we as the commercial seed sector could determine the programmes at universities I fear we would weed out the craziest scientists as unproductive. Our conclusion here is that public-private collaboration is excellent as a leading principle in innovation policies but it should not be taken too far. Finally there is another component of innovation influenced by policies whether or not we can actually use our plant breeding innovations. A case in point is the current worldwide debate on whether or not the products of precision breeding methods need to be regulated. However in most countries IT IS HIGH TIME THE INNOVATION PRINCIPLE IS PUT ON EQUAL FOOTING WITH THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE IN THIS DISCUSSION. NIELS LOUWAARS the debate is not about innovation but about risks ethics and power. It is not part of the innovation policies which is one of the main reasons why it takes so long to get clarity in many countries about gene-editing methods cisgenesis and other breeding methods. It is high time the innovation principle is put on equal footing with the precautionary principle in this discussion. Research policies are a very important part of government involvement in the seed sector and thus an essential focus of lobbying by seed associations. At Plantum we continually try to illustrate the benefits of plant breeding for society in terms of our contribution to sustainable crop production and to product qualities for consumers and industry. However when it comes to involving the general public it is difficult to explain the need for public support for continued innovation in plant sciences. How do you explain the promise of precision breeding to people who have no clue what plant breeding isheredity is not part of biology curricula at secondary schools anymore even now that we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Mendels laws. We at Plantum spend quite a lot of energy on innovation policies in the Netherlands yielding both successes and frustrations. Editors Note Niels Louwaars is the managing director of Plantum and also highly active on several boards in the seed and agriculture industry. Hazera is a global leader in the seed industry. Hazera brings you expertise innovation and local support. We grow hand-in-hand with our partners. The success of our customers is at the heart of everything we do. Expertise Innovation Support Committed to Growing Together 24 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM24 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM BREEDING TARGETS FOR RYEGRASS IN EUROPE BY MARCEL BRUINS ith an annual production output of 90000 metric tonnes mt perennial ryegrass accounts for almost 50 per cent of total grass production forage and turfgrasses making it the most important grass species in Europe. Whereas perennial ryegrass accounted for approximately 40 per cent of turfgrasses compared with around 60 per cent of forage grasses 20 years ago nowadays production volumes for forage and turfgrasses are more or less equal. If you allow for the fact that a significant proportion of forage grasses are used in homemade turf mixes the share increases again. The breeding objectives for turf and forage grasses focus on their respective uses. With forage crops the aim is to obtain high yielding plants which are as broad-leaved and fast-growing as possible. The constituents are also important because these crops provide a food source for cattle. Usage also plays an important role with perennial ryegrass for turf. Varieties for ornamental lawns should be fine-leaved whilst sports pitches require robust hard-wearing varieties with good regenerative capabilities so bare patches created by intensive use for example can quickly recover. Tolerance of cutting is also important frequency and height as golf courses in particular are mown very often and very close. Climate and location also must be taken into consideration. For example some varieties such as variety Pascal are bred for the dry warm climate of the Mediterranean while a winter-hardy variety such as variety Promotor is ideal for northern and eastern European climates. PERENNIAL RYEGRASS MARKETS These markets are very different from arable crop markets. As a generalisation both the amenity and forage markets have sectors where price is the main driver and sectors where quality is king. To further complicate the issue most ryegrass is sold in mixtures with other ryegrasses and grasses. This allows suppliers to salt a mediocre mixture with a small quantity of quality material and focus on the fact the mixture contains X. In some countries most grassland is regularly renewed in order to maximise forage production. In other areas there is little replacement. For example the Netherlands replaces approximately 11 per cent of its grassland yearly. The UK only renews two to three per cent yearly. This is reflected in average forage production per hectare which is much higher in the Netherlands than in the UK. Recognition of the increased production available from better grassland management and renewal has the potential to greatly increase the market size. Amenity and Agricultural Grasses Future Markets If as forecasted there is an increased demand for food arable areas in the world will have to concentrate on crops to feed people and monogastrics. Ruminants may be pushed to non-arable areas. There is already evidence of this in Argentina where soybean and maize have pushed beef cattle out of traditional areas. Breeders at DLF Germinal DSV and Barenbrug weigh in on the importance of creating new ryegrass varieties. Turf perennial ryegrass is widely used for repeated overseedings of sports pitches due to its rapid germination and establishment. Photo DLF TABLE 1. Development of perennial ryegrass production. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 25EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 25 Assuming the demand for meat and milk products remains high then agricultural grassland productivity will become more important. In the short term the current low prices for all agricultural products may drive the inefficient farmer out of business. These low prices will hurt the entire agricultural supply industry. Better grassland farmers renew their grass regularly so the future for agricultural grass variety breeding is safe. The amenity grass market should remain fairly stable. It is affected by general economic well-being large projects and housing construction. However the general golf market sector is declining and the building of new courses seems to have stopped. Cycling fever is damaging golf clubs as people spend their leisure time on a bicycle rather than a golf course. TURF BREEDING TARGETS Breeding targets for turf in Europe are to a large degree driven by official or private testing systems which rank varieties according to various parameters. The rankings are published in national variety lists of which the most important are the German Recommended Seed Mixture RSM list the French Les varits de Gramines gazon the UK Turfgrass Seed the Dutch Gras Gids and the Scandinavian Scanturf list. In order to sell to professional turf users such as golf courses and high-ranked football stadiums it is important to have varieties in the top of these ranked lists. Accordingly there is strong competition among breeders to generate new varieties which make it to the top of these lists. This is a great advantage for grass users who will regularly receive the best-performing varieties available. The overall breeding target in turf is to produce the best possible sward quality. This means turfgrass breeders seek to develop varieties that produce attractive green dense and fine-leaved swards all year round under different climates or managements. Such conditions include the following hot dry conditions in France Italy and Spain cold conditions in Scandinavia central and eastern Europe mild and humid summers in the UK tolerance to various diseases associated with different climates such as crown rust in France or snow mould in Scandinavia tolerance to wear for grasses used on sports fields and tolerance to close mowing for grasses used on golf courses. While breeding for these conditions is a challenge in and of itself the competitive production of a variety is strongly correlated to its seed yield. Hence breeding for quality cannot compromise an acceptable seed yield. As an added challenge for the breeder there is a negative correlation between turf quality and seed yield for many turfgrass species. Success in the Stadium Maximum density and wear resistance combined with good disease resistance good recovery and a mid-green leaf colour are the key criteria when selecting varieties for reseeding mixtures for professional sports pitches which consist almost entirely of perennial ryegrass due to its rapid germination and establishment. After all conditions in the stadium are far from ideal light conditionsespecially in the winter monthsare very low poor air exchange rates increase disease pressure and at the same time opportunities for disease control are limited. The sward requires special care due to the artificial structure of the soil. High stresses especially in winter months combined w ith unfavourable weather conditions e.g. high rainfall lead to a decline in grass quality. Varieties that are suitable for sporting activities and tend to germinate early even when soil temperatures are still low are particularly sought-after. FORAGE BREEDING TARGETS Plant breeding in forage grasses for European markets is driven both by direct demands from the market and by those set up in the testing systems in different countries. For a variety to be marketed in Europe it is a legal requirement to be included on an official variety list in an EU country. The listing is based on the agricultural value of the variety relative to already listed varieties. In general any new variety must be as good as the listed varieties and surpass listed varieties in at least one of the eligibility criteria. When a variety has entered a Plant breeders test new turf varieties for many traits including wear and disease tolerance shoot density and colour. Picture shows machine mimicking studs on soccer shoes. Photo DSV In concentrated production units investments are more intensive both in land and production facilities and larger shed feeding systems are the norm. Photo DLF As the trend for bigger farms continues forage grass breeding will reflect the increased demand for silage-based production. Photo DLF variety list in an EU country it can be sold throughout Europe. Traditional Breeding Programmes Traditional breeding has been succinctly described as cross the best with the best and hope for the best. Big investment is required for field trials to find out which if any of the crosses were worthwhile. In addition any proper forage grass breeding programme must have access to a Haldrup- type plot harvester and should also be able to measure grass quality. A b a s ic for a ge g r a s s br e e d i n g programme with one breeder and minimal facilities costs approximately 200000 per year. In addition there is no guarantee any programme will produce successful new varieties. As with other crops grasses that suit one area often do not perform as well in other regions. This means any new variety has a limited potential market. For example disease may be a critical factor in one area however a small climatic difference can make the same disease irrelevant a few hundred miles away. In addition a variety that will grow year-round may suit areas such as parts of New Zealand and Ireland but would be killed by the cold winter in mainland Europe. Also the forage perennial ryegrass market is subdivided by ploidy levels diploid and tetraploid and heading date groups early intermediate and late. The simple economics of cost and return on investment have resulted in a large reduction in the number of grass breeding companies over the past 40 years. However the market remains extremely competitive partly due to the continuing market share of varieties whose principal merit is low cost. Local Adaption Requirement In several EU countries the forage market is a quality market and efficient sales require local recommendation in specific markets. The local adaptation requirement is due to differences in environment and use depending on economy and traditions. In Ireland as a result of its moist mild climate continuous grass growth during the season is ideal for grazing and costs for investments in facilities for silage production and sheds can be reduced. In 26 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM26 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM highly concentrated production units such as the Benelux countries investments are more intensive both in land and production facilities and bigger units in shed feeding systems are normal. Forage Grass Grazing and Silage Differences in production systems cause different requirements for varieties. Varieties for grazing should have good palatability Years from Starting Point Activity 1 to 2 Cross 1000 pairs of plants 3 Multiply 1000 pair-cross families 4 to 6 Evaluate 100000 progeny plants and select the best 500 6 to 7 Replicate selected plants allow them to inter-cross in groups and sow individual progeny families 8 to 10 Evaluate families as plots in randomized trials 2000 plots and keep parents 11 Synthesise candidate varieties from best parents nine to 10 parents for each variety 12 to 15 Multiply and evaluate candidate varieties 16 to 20 Enter best candidate varieties into independent trials for 1 value for cultivation and use 2 distinctiveness uniformity and stability TABLE 2. Typical Breeding Procedure for Perennial Ryegrass WHERE DO THE STRIPES ON STADIUM TURF COME FROM The light and dark stripes or checks are clearly visible from the stand or on your own television screen but where do they come from Were different types of turf grasses used or did the groundsman paint them on Turf experts and greenkeepers in particular are frequently asked these and other questions in the run-up to the European Football Championships in France. Neither is the simple answer from Lars Obernolte turf product manager at Deutsche Saatveredelung AG DSV one of Europes most successful breeders of turf grasses. The pattern is produced by mowing. The mowers roll the grass in the direction of travel creating shades of dark and light areas which are visible from a distance. Pitch at German soccer team Werder Bremen. Photo DSV poaching resistance low stem regrowth good rust resistance and high digestibility to meet the animals needs. They will also require high production in early spring and late fall to maintain steady levels over the season whereas high summer production may not be a necessity. For silage use the main target is high biomass production. Density and palatability requirements are less of an issue with the increasing size of machinery some kind of wear tolerance may be needed in the future. Silage is normally used together with other roughage such as maize so the digestibility of the fibre fraction is more important than the shared digestibility to make the ideal combination. Systems are combined in several ways and in some places it is common practice to graze paddocks in periods with low forage production and produce silage during peak production. Farming Systems Affect Demand As farms grow bigger they tend to shift from grazing- to silage-based production. As we expect the trend for bigger farms to continue forage grass breeding will reflect an increased demand for silage types. On the other hand we also observe a trend toward increased organic farming in several countries which will increase the demand for grazing-type varieties. Forage Grass Mixtures Individual Needs As farmers use grasses in mixtures breeding targets will address a specific mixture type. A grazing mixture contains early and late varieties to cover production during the year. To ensure an adequate protein content clovers are often added. A mixture may also contain tetraploid varieties to ensure good silage production and if prone to drought other species such as tall fescue may be included. In addition crossing between species is also used in many mixtures. Hybrid ryegrass which originates from crosses between Italian and perennial ryegrass will enhance production in the spring from the Italian parent and ensure longer lays from the perennial parent. Festuloliums combine high forage quality from ryegrass with persistency and drought tolerance from fescues into one hybrid variety. Breeding Targets Different Regions and Disease Resistance Overall the main breeding target is high dry matter yield and forage varieties are plot-tested throughout Europe for the same reason. The importance of other traits differs with environment and production system type across Europe. Most countries conduct national and local testing and provide regional recommendations. Breeding goals according to region include the following listed below. In Northern and Western Europe where the oceanic climate mild winters and adequate moisture favour high grass production of high quality the main targets are yield and quality. The main forage species is perennial ryegrass. Plant diseases can be a problem in some years and locations so resistance to rust and leaf spot Helminthosporium is an additional breeding goal. In Scandinav ia breeding targets resemble some of the local conditions of the mountains of western Europe. These conditions require winter hardiness and snow mould Fusarium resistance which may compromise the requirement for high yields. The choice of species may lean toward more winter persistent types such as timothy but intermediate tetraploid perennial ryegrass is a good solution due to its high quality. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 27EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 27 For Eastern Europe a more continental climate prevails and moisture is often a limiting factor in addition to tough winters and high summer temperatures. Important traits include drought tolerance and high yields at the beginning of the season when moisture still allows for production. In Southern Europe the Mediterranean climate provides warm dry summers and humid mild winters. Drought tolerance and disease resistance are of major importance. In France rust resistance is therefore an important score on the national variety list. The choice of species may favour drought- resistant types such as tall fescue and cocksfoot to maintain production during the summer. Perennial ryegrass is less productive at temperatures above 25C which limits its use in hot areas. If the summer is very dry the choice of forage may shift to annual species to boost production in the winter and spring. Forage Breeding Accomplishments Because grass breeding is a time-consuming process varieties normally stay on the market for a relatively long time. For instance Romark an intermediate diploid perennial ryegrass variety on the Dutch market listed for the first time in 1995. In addition Tivoli is still a highly valued late tetraploid variety on the German list RSM since 1988. Normally the lifespan of a variety is five to 10 years. The speed of development of new varieties depends on breeding strategy and the number of genes involved in the trait to be improved. For example the development of rust resistance which is most likely controlled by few genes has been fast whereas more complex traits like dry matter yield have also improved consistently albeit at a much lower pace. While changes in agricultural management account for half of the annual gains in forage yield the remaining can be related to genetic gains. Sometimes trait development occurs in jumps. For example the perennial ryegrass Sputnik entered the Dutch list with an impressive yield increase of about five per cent. In addition many European breeding companies have also managed to make big improvements to variety persistence. However arguably the most important advances have been in grass quality. Better quality means better yields of milk and meat. Better quality also goes hand-in-hand with lower emissions of nitrogen. There is also evidence higher quality forage reduces methane emissions from grazing animals. T h e b r e e d i n g p r o g r a m m e a t Aberystwyth University was the first to recognise the importance of grass quality and how it affects animal performance. The high water soluble carbohydrate Aber varieties of forage ryegrass demonstrate the progress that has been made. Attention is now being given to other quality aspects such as lipid levels. BREEDING FOR THE FUTURE A typical grass breeding programme takes from 12 to 15 years from the beginning of the breeding cycle until the variety is on the market. It is highly challenging for any plant breeder to foresee what will happen in the future. It is quite clear that dry summers may become more common in many European regions and therefore drought tolerance is an area of major focus in many breeding programmes today. It is also possible insect damage will become a bigger problem in the future due to climate change. Recently DLF has started two new breeding projects which target these challenges one project focuses on developing varieties with better and longer roots and the other on developing endophytic fungi to protect the roots from damaging insects. Deep Root Selection With the hypothesis that drought tolerance is correlated with rooting depth four Danish breeding companies collaborated with three Danish universities to create a facility where plants can be selected for deep rooting while simultaneously undergoing thorough scientific investigations. The project called RadiMax aims to develop drought-tolerant crops in wheat barley potato and grasses as well as create genomic models that will allow breeders to predict rooting ability in new material solely based on a DNA test. Endophyte Solutions Endophytic fungi can be found in most cool- season grasses throughout Europe. Ryegrass meadow fescue and tall fescue receive sugars in exchange for alkaloids which protect the grass from insects. However the natural endophytes in ryegrass only protect the base of the plant and not the roots. DLF is currently working on developing endophyte solutions which will protect both the top and the roots of the plant from insect attacks. NIR and Ryegrass Breeding In recent years the development of technologies to measure quality parameters online have improved considerably with the use of near-infrared reflectance NIR spectroscopy. When an infrared light beam is reflected from a substance the wavelengths can be used to estimate the content of various components. NIR is used in grass breeding for online measurements of moisture content on grass harvesters. Companies have extended the use of NIR to other quality parameters such as digestibility content of water soluble carbohydrates and protein as well as the quality of fibre fractions. Each year 150000 to 200000 plot scans are collected with a fleet of grass harvesters all mounted with NIR scanners. Editors Notes DLF is a global market leader in the grass seed industry running a worldwide breeding network as well as production and sales of clover and grass seed. It develops locally adapted forage and turf products for a wide range of climates and soils as well as specialty products for specific applications. With group companies based throughout the British Isles and a strong network of business interests worldwide Germinal is involved in the agricultural and amenity sectors delivering quality and customer service from breeding and assessment through to the production and marketing of seed. DSV focuses on breeding production advisory services and sales with the main emphasis on turf and forage grasses oilseed rape maize cereal crops and cover crops making it a one-stop shop. DSV has various seed breeding and testing stations plus a number of testing sites in Germany and abroad staffed by a 600-strong workforce. For more than 100 years the Royal Barenbrug Group has been a family-owned business the core activities of which are plant breeding grass seed production and the international marketing of seed for turf and forage grasses and legumes. Variety trials of ryegrass. Photo DSV Drought tolerance is an area of focus for breeding programmes as dry summers may become more common in many European regions. Photo shows the grass-covered tram tracks in Angers France. Photo DLF ONLINE EXCLUSIVE Visit to read more about the perennial ryegrass breeding process from DSVs perspective. 28 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM28 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM INNOVATIONS IN RYEGRASS BREEDING Environmental shifts and turf usage are helping drive innovation in ryegrass. BY MARCEL BRUINS hoever thought that watching grass grow is the most boring activity on the planet cant be more wrong. In this article European Seed sat down with several ryegrass breeders to look at some of the very interesting developments that have happened and are still taking place in ryegrass breeding and we were amazed by the high level of innovation in the sector. TETRAPLOIDISATION IN TURF Although polyploid organisms are very common in nature we can assist nature by making artificial polyploidisation using colchicine a natural product extract from plants of the genus Colchicum. Colchicine inhibits the formation of aster rays which normally pull the duplicated chromosomes to the cell sides allowing a cell wall to develop down the middle. P l a n t b r e e d e r s h a v e m a d e tetraploidisation of grasses for a long time and the first tetraploid forage perennial ryegrass varieties were listed in the 1950s and 1960s. The goal was to improve forage yield and disease tolerance. In the United States and Europe some attempts were made also in turfgrass during the 1980s but without real success. Nevertheless one variety called Juventus created some interest due to its drought tolerance. It was listed in various countries and had some success in France at the beginning of the 1990s. However up against an impressive improvement of traditional diploid varieties e.g. Greenfair Greenway at the end of the 1990s it was difficult to recommend tetraploid material that lacked fineness of leaf compared with these new diploids. TETRAPLOIDS ADD TOUGHNESS TO TURF There are a number of challenges in breeding tetraploid turf varieties of perennial ryegrass which by nature have traits more associated with forage than turf. The challenges are shoot density broader leaves and more frequent mowing. Fortunately there are also some tremendous advantages darker colour better disease tolerance and a general capacity to survive in hostiledry cold or hotconditions which is the main weak point of diploid ryegrasses. Diploids are well adapted to oceanic conditions but suffer in more extreme climates. Through intensive breeding efforts turf quality in tetraploids is now getting much closer to that of the diploids. Slightly broader leaves and lower density are more than compensated for by the other unique qualities of tetraploid varieties making them ideal components in turf mixturesand mixtures play a major role in the turf business. IMPROVED WINTER DISEASE AND DROUGHT TOLERANCE In the early 2000s DLF initiated a new breeding program using chromosome doubling in ryegrass based on very dense diploid material. After some attempts a breakthrough was made with the first listings of the tetraploid varieties Double and Tetragreen. Double showed a significant improvement of winter disease tolerance after testing in Scandinavian turf networks. Trialling in France proved Tetragreen to be one of the most drought-tolerant perennial ryegrasses. These varieties are available in various European countries including Denmark the UK the Netherlands Germany and France. NEXT GEN TETRAPLOIDS Due to an intensive and dedicated breeding program the next generation of tetraploid perennial ryegrass varieties are available. While keeping the beneficial tetraploid traits the variety Fabian has a density very close to diploid varieties. Tetrastar is a perfect complement of diploid varieties for sports pitches due to the best compromise between density and disease tolerance. In addition Tetradark with its dark genetic colour is adapted to Mediterranean regions such as Spain Italy and Turkey and is an excellent match in mixtures with tall fescue. Tetraploid ryegrass provides a very interesting solution for landscapers sports field managers and golf course greenskeepers who care about sustainability as these varieties require less water and pesticides. A NEW ERA BEGINS During the 1990s many plant breeding companies sought to develop DNA markers which were linked to certain traits such as disease resistance. While this task was straightforward in inbreeding species it met with significantly more challenges in outbreeding species such as grasses. The problem was the lack of solid linkages between markers and traits which inherently follows the nature of outcrossing reproduction. Although several disease resistance markers were discovered in scientific experiments mostly they could not be transferred and used in elite breeding material. GENOMIC SELECTION The solution came in the wake of next generation sequencing technologies which were introduced in the mid-2000s. ThisThe tetraploid variety Double showed a significant improvement in winter disease tolerance Fusarium Patch as shown above. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 29EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 29 technology allowed scientists to develop methods that could identify DNA variations single nucleotide poly morph isms between genomes on a large scale and at affordable prices. Suddenly hundreds of thousands of markers were at hand and the idea of performing genomic selection in grasses became a realistic scenario. With respect to genomic selection plants are selected based on their genetic potential rather than data from the field. The method was already used for some years in animal breeding but in contrast to animals grasses are bred as families not as si n g le i nd iv idua ls severa l scientific challenges had to be solved. At Barenbrug genomic selection is around the corner or already implemented. Also higher throughput phenotyping systems are being studied or used in grass breeding. Other topics that are getting more and more attention are drought- and salt tolerance nutrient use efficiency and insect resistance. EXPEDITED BREEDING PROCESS In 2010 in collaboration with molecular geneticists at Aarhus University in Denmark DLF started developing genomic selection in diploid forage ryegrass. By 2015 for the first time breeders were able to set up synthetic variety crosses based on genomic predictions. That same year the company initiated genomic selection in tetraploid forage ryegrass and is now moving into turf ryegrass. The benefits associated with the use of genomic selection in grass breeding include the following breeders can shortcut field trials and thereby save up to four years of development time reduces the number of costly field plots due to pre-selection improves the options for selecting multiple traits simultaneously. Genomic selection will make significant increases in annual breeding gains. The engine in the system is the prediction model which associates each trait with a certain marker profile. With this model every important trait can be estimated for each new breeding line based on its DNA marker profile. SCALED-DOWN FIELD TRIALS Field trialling will be scaled down to fewer lines which are only used to train the prediction model according to the current conditions. The next step will be to develop prediction models for the best parent match so unsuccessful crosses can be limited in the future. At this moment genomic selection can only be justified in large species such as perennial ryegrass but this situation will certainly change if sequencing prices continue to drop. MATURING TECHNOLOGIES The company Germinal applies marker- assisted selection which has the potential to improve the speed of breeding progress. Genetic modification has been possible in grasses for many years but so far only some turfgrass varieties have been released and not yet in Europe. Great care must be taken as many grasses readily hybridise and a forage grass to a grass farmer is often a weed to a crop farmer. Theoretically it should be possible to produce a grass that does not head under normal farm practices. This would provide a more even spread of forage production. The genes that suppress heading would be turned off for seed production by the application of an appropriate chemical. There has been work on true hybrid ryegrass distinct from crosses between Italian and perennial ryegrass. There has also been talk of greatly increased yields. These claims should be viewed with caution since current varieties are restricted populations that already express considerable hybrid vigour. Grass is everywhere and we as humans have been enjoying it for centuries. Whether we are having a barbeque in our garden see our kids playing sports at school watching a good game on a well maintained pitch or having a nice picnic in the park a good piece of grass is worth its weight in gold. Innovations in ryegrass breeding make sure that all those lawns golf courses and sports pitches can keep up with the challenges they are faced with and we can continue to enjoy grass for ages to come. 30 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM erennial ryegrass Lolium perenne L. subsp. stoloniferum C. Lawson Wipff is the most important species when dealing with high traffic and high establishment speed. Though perennial ryegrass is one of the most wear tolerant cool- season turf grasses available the demand for more wear tolerance has increased due to increased use of sports fields and golf courses. Regenerating perennial ryegrass RPR is a subspecies of perennial ryegrass that produces stolons. Stolons can be classified into two types determinate- and indeterminate-stolons. A determinate-stolon is an above- ground horizontal stem which roots at the nodes and does not produce aerial shoots indeterminately. The apical apex will eventually terminate with an inflorescence e.g. referred to herein as Lolium perenne subsp. stoloniferum. An indeterminate-stolon is an above- ground stem which roots at the node and from which shoots are produced progressively. This horizontal stem will never terminate with an inflorescence but the apical apex remains vegetative e.g. bermudagrass and creeping bentgrass. WEAR TOLERANCE Improvements in summer wear tolerance have been previously achieved indirectly by increasing shoot density. Winter wear on European sports pitches and golf courses has been reduced partly by empirical evaluation of wear tolerance of ryegrass varieties using artificial wear machines with studded rollers using the most wear tolerant varieties. Whether a variety not developed for traffic tolerance has some traffic tolerance is no indication that it can actually recover from traffic injury. In fact these varieties are not able to recover from traffic damage. Thus it is critical perennial ryegrass being used on a sports field is bred for traffic stress from the beginning. These are the conditions under which RPR with its strong recuperative ability was discovered intense long-term traffic stress. RPR DEVELOPMENT The importance and benefit of RPR was realised because it was developed under intense traffic stress. Subjecting millions of genotypes for many years to intense traffic wear reduced the population to approximately 3000 initial selections. From these initial selections only five populations of RPR were discovered. This type of selection not only translates into better traffic tolerance but also positive recovery potential from traffic damage because of RPRs stoloniferous habit. Our studies at Barenbrug have shown just because a ryegrass is stoloniferous does not mean it can recover from an intense traffic event. We discovered only stoloniferous varieties developed for traffic tolerance were able to recuperate from an intense traffic event. Although other ryegrass varieties can have some unintended traffic tolerances they could not recover from this wear and actually have negative recuperating potential i.e. they dont recover. A fter the traffic simulation was completed the varieties were then studied for their ability to recuperate from the intense traffic wear. The varieties not developed for traffic tolerance actually continued to decline whereas those developed under intense traffic selection protocols i.e. RPR did recuperate and in fact increased in coverage Figure 1. As the turf canopy is opened up by traffic RPR begins to produce stolons to fill in the open areas. This occurrence was first reported after research was performed at Ohio State University in the United States. RPR PURPOSES From day one RPR was developed for sports fields sod production and intensively-used areas on golf courses i.e. tees fairways with tremendous success. Feedback from sports turf managers and sod farmers indicate how much they like RPRs performance and wear tolerance. RPR works well in mixtures with smooth-stalked meadow grasses fine fescues or other ryegrass species. They are especially suited to all areas where cool-season grasses are predominant. The major benefits of these grasses are achieved due to their outstanding recovery capability through the production of elongated tillers which produce new plants. The network of stolons Figures 2 and 3 and new plants give added tensile strength just below the soil surface. RPR brings together strength and speed in one species. The grass plants germinate quickly and can be used intensively after the establishment of a dense sward. This means many more playing rounds on a golf course as fairways and tees can withstand more traffic. RPR solves the issue of choosing between speed or strength. This innovation combines firmness and strength with speed of establishment and regeneration. In other words the best of both worlds. REGENERATING PERENNIAL RYEGRASS A closer look at stoloniferous ryegrass for sports with intensive traffic. BY ARTHUR WOLLESWINKEL Editors Note Arthur Wolleswinkel is product development manager for Barenbrug Holland. FIGURE 1. RPR in wear trial. Non-RPR is located in front and RPR is located in the back. FIGURE 2. Regenerating perennial ryegrass is a subspecies of perennial ryegrass that produces stolons. Above is the stolon of Lolium perenne subsp. stoloniferum. FIGURE 3. 30 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM realised because it was developed under intense traffic stress. Subjecting millions of genotypes for many years to intense traffic wear reduced the population to approximately 3000 initial selections. From these initial selections only five populations of RPR were discovered. This type of selection not only many more playing rounds on a golf course as fairways and tees can withstand more traffic. RPR solves the issue of choosing between speed or strength. This innovation combines firmness and strength with speed of establishment and regeneration. In other words the best of both worlds. Editors Note Arthur Wolleswinkel is product development manager for Barenbrug Holland. FIGURE 3. REGENERATING PERENNIAL RYEGRASS A closer look at stoloniferous ryegrass for sports with intensive traffic. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 31 INTERNATIONAL NEWS GLOBAL SEED WATCH DISCOVERING WHAT MAKES PLANTS CLOCKS TICK AND NEW WORK UNDERWAY TO MAKE HYBRID WHEAT A REALITY. STATUS UNITED STATES Theres growing interest in hybrid wheat andDr Amir Ibrahim a Texas AM AgriLife Research wheat breeder in College Station believes the time is right to make it available. Ibrahim has been working toward the development of hybrid wheat varieties since 2013 but wheat breeders first began looking at hybridisation in wheat more than 50 years ago in the early 1960s he said. The price for wheat was so low and the cost for the hybrid seed was too high at the time he said. Today we have a better handle on the genes and better prices and availability of genomic tools. And it is something that is needed Ibrahim said. Wheat production yield poten- tial has been leveling off and this is one way to break that barrier. The performance of the TAM varieties of wheat developed by AgriLife Researchs wheat breeding team has been improving across the state and into other states with diverse climates providing a solid base of germplasm. Under a Monocot Improvement Initiative grant by AgriLife Research as well as fund- ing from the Texas Wheat Producers Board Ibrahim is working with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to test more than 600 lines of hybrid wheat in Nebraska and Texas. Within five years I hope we can have the first commercially available hybrid seed available for producers Ibrahim said. He said in addition to the fieldwork his team now has access to medium- to high-throughput genotyping which will help them map the restoration genes and under- stand hybrid vigour at the molecular level. They are also screening the germplasm for the floral characteristics and for combining ability. With the next generation sequencing technology Ibrahim said they may be able to select for performance traits that can result in higher biomass and yield drought toler- ance consistent performance quality dis- ease resistance and agronomic adaptation vigorous root system and increased production in low-fertility conditions. Source Texas AM AgriLife Research STATUS JAPAN A team of biologists at Nagoya Universitys Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules ITbM led by Narihito Nakamichi has uncovered that the clock genes produced by plants during the evening are regulated by clock proteins pro- duced in the morning. During the afternoon plants ready them- selves for the cold temperatures that follow sunset. In this manner plants use their biological clock to respond beforehand to the changes in their surrounding environment that are caused by variation in time. Since 2011 we have been trying to find the key factor that regulates the expression of the gene that is transcribed during the afternoon says Nakamichi. The group used Pseudo-Response Regulator 5 PRR5 which is a clock gene of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. According to Nakamichi they believed that CCA1 a clock protein generated during sunrise binds to a specific DNA sequence involved in the expression of the target gene PRR5. They collected the CCA1 protein bound to DNA using Chromatin immunoprecipitation ChIP and analysed the DNA sequence by rapid DNA sequencing. They were able to identify that the PRR5 gene appearsin the regulatory region at a high frequency and data suggested that the CCA1 protein directly acts towards the regula- tory region of the PRR5 gene and has a major effect on it. The research group also found the target DNA region of the CCA1 clock protein in the plant cells chromosome. We found many genes that are expressed in the evening nearby the DNA region that CCA1 binds to explains Nakamichi. Some of these genes are responsible for the plants responses to drought stress transmission of the signals from the plant hormone abscisic acid regulation of the opening and closing of sto- mata and production of wax. The results of our studies suggest that the CCA1 protein induces these biological processes to occur at a specific time during the evening. Source Nagoya University STATUS AUSTRALIA Scientists from The University of Queensland UQ in Australia are undertaking a world-first research into ancient wheats to ensure the crops future. Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovations Dr Lee Hickey said Modern breeding and a switch to monoculture cropping has greatly improved yield and quality but the lack of genetic variation has caused crops to become more vulnerable to new diseases and climate change. Adnan Riaz UQ Ph.D. student performed the worlds first genome-wide analysis of wheat seeds that were collected by the Russian scien- tist Nikolai Vavilov. Riaz examined a total of 295 diverse wheats using 34000 DNA markers. The genomic analysis revealed a massive array of genes that are now absent in modern Australian wheat cultivars and these ancient genes could offer valuable sources of disease resistance or drought tolerance. The Hickey Lab offers the research com- munity open-access to this resource including the pure seed of the ancient wheats along with DNA marker information. We hope this will empower scientists and wheat breeders to redis- cover genetic diversity lying dormant in our seed banks said Hickey. Source The University of Queensland STATUS ISRAEL The reproduction process is essentially the same in humans animals and most plants. Both female and male organisms are required to contribute to the phenomenon. A new joint Tel Aviv UniversityFreiburg University study offers an alternative the discovery of a genetic trigger for the devel- opment of offspring without cross-fertilisa- tionin moss. It identifies and explores the master genetic switch for self-reproduction in the mossPhyscomitrella patens. According to the new study the BELL1 gene triggers a pathway of genes that facili- tate embryo development without fertilisation to form fully functional adult moss plants. The research was led jointly byNir Ohad director of theManna Center Program for Food Safety and Securityat TAUsGeorge S. WiseFaculty of Life Sciencesand Ralf Reski of the University of Freiburg. It was recently published inNature Plants. The knowledge gained from our research may help to modernise agriculture allowing us to clone certain important plants and distribute their seeds to farmers said Ohad. Moss possesses both egg cells and motile sperm and as such serves as a simple model plant to understand self-fertilisation processes. Our results explain at the molecu- lar level how asexual reproductionknown as parthenogenesis or apomixeshas evolved. In these processes genetically identical plants are formed. 32 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM SPOTLIGHT UNION FRANAISE DES SEMENCIERS AT THE HELM OF THE LARGEST SEED EXPORTING COUNTRY A CLOSER LOOK AT THE FRENCH SEED ASSOCIATION UFS A YOUNG ORGANIZATION BUILT ON A RICH HISTORICAL TRADITION BY MARCEL BRUINS FS was created as a unified organization in 2009 founded on the roots of six crop specific associations which were themselves strongly incorporated into the French agricultural environment. Those individual bodies did the job well and served their members but the growing complexity of the subjects to address their transversal impacts and the consolidation of the industry encouraged some companies leaders to think about improving their representation and the voice of the seed industry in France and abroad. After a thorough analysis and a close look at some existing and efficient national seed associations in the industry the new organization was set up the Union Franaise des Semenciers UFS. UFS TODAY The new association kept the principle of the six sections dedicated to crops where any specific issues are dealt with as it used to be in the former shape but three commissions were added each in charge of cross-cutting issues Regulatory and Innovation Intellectual Property and Production. The six crop sections in UFS are the following Cereals and Pulses Forage and Amenity Grasses Beets and Chicory Vegetables and Ornamentals Oil Crops Maize and Sorghum UFS represents the interests of more than 130 companies with a wide range of activities from breeding production or marketing of seeds. The company members are dispersed all over the French territory and their diversity provides local employment. Through their investment in innovation the companies are leveraging modern agriculture the food industry and environment which can be hot political topics. In order to efficiently drive the Association UFS took a lot of care to provide it with a modern governance body. This is reflected into the breadth of the 18 board members representing the diverse range of players. The UFS board is currently lead by its president Rgis Fournier. The operational support is provided by a team composed of 13 people with a good balance in expertise seniority and experience in the seed industry most of them having been recruited since the creation of UFS. At the head of the UFS Secretariat is its general manager Eric Devron. The success of UFS is probably based on the tight connection between the team at the UFS Secretariat and the members. In addition there are more than 200 active working groups that create a link that provides trust and practicality in any contribution that the association generates. Just to give an example the UFS General Assembly brings high visibility to the association and to the French seed sector gathering more than 300 participants representing political deciders and executives of the main stakeholders. It is the place to be in November At the last UFS General Assembly the association proudly received Stephane Le Foll the French minister of Agriculture. Another task of UFS today is to provide the necessary connection with the European and global environment such as the European Seed Association ESA and the International Seed Federation ISF. UFS puts a lot of efforts into ESA as a coordinating headquarters to grow the French connection with the association active in the European Union. UFS believes that the global ability to set up a true network and team spirit will leverage UFS actions at the EU level. Most of the UFS members who are already organized as such encourage us to move towards this community of interconnected and more centrally driven platforms. MISSION UFS is the voice of the French seed industry at any place where decisions are prepared and made. Our main missions can be summarised as Being a forum of exchange for members Assisting members with technical and regulatory development and professional best practices Representing UFS members and their interests at the international level as well as the national level Making proposals to public authorities and other parties and representing common industry positions Developing a positive image for the seed industrys activities through promotion education and dialogue with the general public and the media. In order to represent its members it is crucial that good policy papers are drafted and agreed upon. An example of its policy making activities are the UFS position papers. Some recent position papers are those on Seeds for Biological Agriculture of April 2015 and on New Plant Breeding Techniques of May 2015. THE FRENCH SEED INDUSTRY France according to the National Interprofessional Association for Seeds and Plants GNIS and ISF figures is the number one seed exporting country in the world. Some of the reasons contributing to this success are a wide range of climates and soils that allow for U EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 33 almost any crop to grow in good conditions. Besides this France also has a solid agricultural environment good farming skills and there is political support. All these factors are securing high and stable crop yields and top seed quality. And as a result this has lead over the last 40 years to a specialization and concentration of investments in French RD labs in seed plants and various networks of excellence. However since the late 90s the recent EU policies turned the blue-sky story into a foggy future for agriculture in Europe. This started with the ban on the production of genetically modified crops followed with the suspicions and subsequent ban on some valuable seed treatment options and now the evaluation of the new plant breeding techniques. Fortunately UFS is expecting a better consideration of the benefits of plant breeding and high standard seed quality. Some recent reports such as the Agriculture and Innovation 2025 ordered by the French prime minister shed some positive light on new technologies and investments into seed breeding. UFS is happy to confirm that at high decision levels crop enhancement through better genetics will provide solutions to water scarcity climate change environment issues. This high-level realization might turn the seed sectors solutions into opportunities and better times can be foreseen. BEING PRACTICAL WHATS NEXT We obviously expect that the new plant breeding techniques will not be regulated in Europe as GM technologies without a scientific-based approach. We wish that existing IP tools will be handled differently as technologies and markets evolve. We need a European internal market with common rules without unnecessary administrative burden. We will benefit from stable and visible regulation as we want our country to remain the very place to set up seed investment in Europe and in the world we expect a balanced implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture that will allow plant breeding to deliver high-speed output. UFS firmly thinks that France will remain a diversified and high-performing agriculture country allowing its seed sector to grow. Seed companies investments in France have remained significant during this last decade showing confidence in a bright future where technology adoption and solutions brought by new varieties to consumers and to the society will put the seed sector and UFS at the heart of the game. UFS is happy to act towards accelerating this come back of agriculture and the seed sector and fostering solid markets for UFS members. INNOVATION IN THE FOCUS DURING ROYAL VISIT TO FRANCE France and The Netherlands have a shared responsibility for the future of agriculture and horticulture. This came to the forefront during the recent state visit of the Dutch King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima to France in mid-March where innovation took centre stage. Companies from both countries work closely together and the innovation that is brought into the sector are an important basis for food security for sustainable production and for product quality and diversity. In conjunction with this visit further cooperation between the seed sectors of both countries were discussed with the following topics Maintaining the good balance in the use of tools that are available to plant breeders to protect their intellectual property rights on new plant varieties or innovations The prevention of unjustified barriers with regards to access to genetic resources for plant breeding which are eminent through the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol for which the European Commission is currently drafting guidelines The prevention of unnecessary regulations for new plant breeding techniques. In case there are no specific risks for mankind or the environment such unjustified regulations would annihilate the great opportunities that these techniques offer to farmers and consumers A guaranteed access arranged by law to quality seeds for organic farmers at a moment where such rules are being discussed at EU level and Maintaining an open market and level playing field with identical rules for all plant health and seed treatments. French Minister of Agriculture Stephane Le Foll speaking at a recent UFS General Assembly. Eric Devon general manager UFS Rgis Fournier UFS president 34 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM REGULATORY KEEPING YOU INFORMED OF LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY CHANGES IN EUROPE AND ABROAD FROM LAWSUITS TO APPROVALS TO OTHER REGULATORY ISSUES AFFECTING YOUR BUSINESS. NATIONAL NEW INSIGHTS ON SAFETY STUDIES OF GMOS Feeding studies of GM foodfeed have been studied in detail by an EU-funded project called GMO Risk Assessment and Communication of Evidence GRACE. The project team used GM maise event MON 810 in a 90-day and one-year feeding study. The team did not find any indica- tion that a routine performance of 90-day feed- ing studies with whole foodfeed would provide additional information on the safety on MON810 when compared to the compositional compari- son of the GM variety. Results also indicate that feeding the rats with MON810 did not lead to any adverse effects. Additional findings support the scientific reasoning that feeding trials with whole foodfeed may provide an added scientific value for the risk assessment of GM crops but only in case a trigger is available from the initial molecular compositional phenotypic and or agronomic analyses. OPPOSITION TO GMOS HURTING DEVELOPING NATIONS A new study published by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ITIF and authored by Val Giddings Robert Atkinson and John Wu reveals how opposition to geneti- cally modified organisms GMOs hurts develop- ing nations. According to the report campaigns against GMOs originating primarily in Europe have created significant obstacles to the devel- opment and adoption of genetically modified crops. The authorsemphasised that the restric- tive climate for agricultural biotech innova- tions could cost low- and lower-middle-income nations up to US1.5 trillion in foregone eco- nomic benefits through 2050. Opponents of agri- cultural biotechnology have argued that GMOs would benefit only industrialised nations and would price farmers from developing nations out of the market. The authors wrote that these groups were wrong. Experience and data have shown that crops improved through biotech- nology provide significant benefits for farmers. Biotech-improved seeds are even more impor- tant to farmers in developing countries than in developed nations because the former have less capacity and access to other innovations that boost productivity e.g. modern tractors etc. but they can afford improved seeds. This is the reason why farmers in developing nations plant more biotech-improved seeds than farmers in industrial nations despite massive European and advocacy group efforts to discourage them. INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA APPROVES RELEASE OF GM CANOLA Australias Office of the Gene Technology Regulator has issued a license in response to application DIR 138 from Bayers Crop Science division authorising the commercial release ofcanolagenetically modified GM for dualherbicide toleranceand to facilitate production. The release is authorised to take place throughout Australia. The GM canola and products derived from itmay enter general commerce including use in human food and animalfeed. Food Standards Australia New Zealand FSANZ has approved the use in food of material derived from this GM canola. The decision to issue the license was made after consultation on the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan with the public state and territory governments Australian Government agencies the environment minister the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee and local councils as required by the Gene Technology Act 2000 and the corresponding state and territory legislation. PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT APPROVES REVISED GM REGULATIONS The Joint Department Circular JDC titled Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development Handling and Use Transboundary Movement Release into the Environment and Management of Genetically- Modified Plant and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology was finally approved and signed by the secretaries of the Philippine governments Departments of Agriculture DA Science and Technology DOST Environment and Natural Resources DENR Health DOH and Interior and Local Government DILG. The approval is expected to lift the temporary ban on research field testing commercialisation and importation of GM crops and biotech products in the coun- try brought about by the Supreme Court deci- sion which was metwith criticisms from the scientificand academiccommunity farmer groups traders food and feed processors and livestock producers as well as disappoint- ment fromfarmers who are looking forward to better quality GM seeds particularly the insect resistant Bt talong eggplant the field trials of which were permanently stopped by the high court. According to economic studies Bt talong can have significant socioeconomic benefits for both farmers and consumers such as reduc- tion in chemical pesticide use. It is expected to greatly benefit major eggplant producing provinces such as Pangasinan which has high insect pest pressure from Bt talongs target insect the fruit and shoot borer. KENYA APPROVES BT MAIZE FOR LIMITED RELEASE Kenyas Biosafety Authority has granted a con- ditional approval for environmental release of insect resistant maize Bt maize for National Performance Trials. The Bt maize has been genetically modified GM to produce an insecticideBt protein that kills certain insect pests. The gene added to the maize comes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thur- ingiensis Bt which has long been known to possess an insecticidal effect and widely used in organic agriculture. The transformed crop will be able to withstand stem borers known to reduce maize production by an average of 13 per cent or 400000 tonnes of maize equiv- alent to the normal yearly amount of maize that Kenya imports. Other African countries that have already authorised the sale of GM crops include Burkina Faso South Africa and Sudan. In 2014 South Africa grew 2.1 million hectares of biotech maize of which 28 per cent was Bt maize. The Kenyan approval was reached after comprehensive review of the application submitted by Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation in June 2015. The review process included a public participation exercise where stake- holders submitted written comments on the application. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 35 INDUSTRY NEWS TAILORED TO SEED PROFESSIONALS INDUSTRY NEWS DELIVERS THE PEOPLE RESEARCH BUSINESS AND PRODUCT NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW. SUBMISSIONS ARE WELCOME. EMAIL US AT NEWSISSUESINK.COM. PEOPLE NEWS Phenome Networks a software-as-a-service plant breeding management and analytics soft- ware provider announces that seed industry veteran Jean-Michel Meunier has joined its advisory board. Meunier will utilise his exten- sive RD and product management experience to help Phenome Networks further refine its product and market strategy in order to help seed companies of all sizes improve their breed- ing and variety processes using next generation informatics according to the company. Meunier is an industry veteran with 42 years of experi- ence in seed businesses in Europe the Middle East Africa North America and Asia across 50 countries and three major seed groups based in the Netherlands Denmark and Japan he held various marketing and RD roles at a regional and worldwide level. In the last 18 years he was with Sakata a world leader in breeding and producing vegetable and ornamental seeds and vegetative cuttings. The European Seed Association www. is recruiting a Manager Plant Health and Trade to work full time at the ESA General Secretariats office in Brussels Belgium. This position will work closely with the ESA membership and as part of the ESA Policy Team under the guidance of the sec- retary general to whom heshe will be report- ing. The manager shall establish ESA as a key interlocutor for all relevant plant health administrations be the spokesperson of the EU seed sector on phytosanitary matters and assure multiplication of European activities at international level as required. Interested can- didates should send their CV including salary expectations to and mark it with ESA Manager Plant Health. The application deadline 27 May 2016. United Kingdom crop research organisation NIAB has appointed Dr. Alison Bentley as its new director of genetics and breeding. Bentley joined NIAB in 2007 and currently leads its trait genetics research programme. She succeeds Professor Andy Greenland who is retiring from the position he has held since 2005. Bentley has a strong interest in the genotype x environment interactions controlling complex traits and in the application of genomics in the breeding of high yielding climate resilient cereals. She has worked on a range of projects within NIABs flagship wheat pre-breeding programme including research on characterising flower- ing time response and the exploitation of novel genetic diversity and genomics tools for wheat improvement. Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra a renowned sci- entist of molecular genetics and genomics is the new Secretary of Indias Department of Agricultural Research and Education DARE and director general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research ICAR. ICAR is the worlds largest network of crop specific research institutions spread across India that forms a unique national agricultural research system including State Agricultural Universities SAUs. Mohapatra has previously worked as a researcher at the ICAR National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology NRCPB director of National Rice Research Institute formerly CRRI and director-cum- vice chancellor of Indian Agricultural Research Institute IARI in New Delhi. BUSINESS NEWS Hazera recently completed the move of its RD center including laboratories breeding greenhouses and offices into its new head- quarters in itsBerurim site Israel. At the same time the company is investing in the northern Netherlands in a new RD center for breeding crucifer crops Brassicas and radish. The pro- ject is scheduled to be completed in fall 2017 at an investment of over 8 million euros. We are happy to have completed the process of improving the companys RD infrastructure in Israel and uniting the great majority of the companys activities in Israel under one roof in BerurimRami Dar CEO of Hazera said. The companys processing plant remains located in south Israel Sderot. The new RD center contains all the very latest facilities and tech- nologies in the field of breeding vegetable varie- ties enabling Hazera to improve its new product development processes while attaining maximal efficiency. InVivo has signed an agreement to acquire through its holding company InVivo AgroSciences Bioline a subsidiary of Syngenta specialised in the production and marketing of biological control agents and in particular macro-organisms active against insect pests in fruits vegetable and flower crops. By joining forces Bioline and Biotop a long-standing InVivo subsidiary working in biological pest control will become a truly global player in a high-potential and fast-growing market.Strengthened by its long-standing know-how with its subsidiary Biotop the acquisition of Bioline will enable InVivo to build the capacities required to develop a significant activity in biosolutions. As part of its regular portfolio review BASF is refocusing its plant biotechnology research portfolio and will restructure its plant science operations. The company will adjust the site footprint of its plant biotechnology research and development network in North America and Europe and intends to reduce approximately 350 positions140 positions in North America and 180 in Europe. Currently approximately 700employees work in plant biotechnology RD. Research and field sites in Research Triangle Park North Carolina Ames Iowa Berlin and Limburgerhof Germany Ghent Belgium and Brazil will be kept but are planned to be reduced in size. The field testing sites in Kekaha Hawaii as well as the sites in India and Puerto Rico will 36 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM INDUSTRY NEWS be closed. The restructuring is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Bayer has acquired the plant health diagno- sis and infection level warning service pro- vider proPlant Gesellschaft fr Agrar- und Umweltinformatik mbH. The acquisition con- tinues the expansion of Bayers activities in the field of agricultural digitalisation. The company based in Mnster in North-Rhine Westphalia Germany was originally established as a spin-off by employees of the Institute for Geoinformatics at Mnster University. It will operate as Bayer Digital Farming GmbH in the future. Bayer Digital Farming GmbH develops and markets IT solutions for the European agricultural sector. In particular the company markets optimisation solutions for plant protection applications for almost all major arable crops. Limagrain through its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary Vilmorin USA Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Genica Research Corporation USA which is head- quartered in Dixon California. Created in 1999 Genica Research Corporation parent company of Magnum Seeds and Genista specialises in research efforts for the breeding and production of hybrid vegetable seeds. Its portfolio includes sweet and hot peppers cucumber zucchini tomato eggplant melon and watermelon. The company has 50 permanent employees based in the U.S. and Europe nearly half of whom are dedicated to research and development. The U.S. activities of Genica Research Corporation including research and farm facilities located in California and Florida will be integrated into HM.CLAUSE Inc. based in Davis California. The European activities of Genica Research Corporation including greenhouses in Spain and a research station in Italy will be integrated into Vilmorin SA based in France. HM.CLAUSE and Vilmorin are both business units of Limagrain. INDUSTRY NEWS A new study shows that wild tomatoes are better able to protect themselves against the destructive whitey than our modern com- mercial varieties. The study published in the academic journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development shows that in our quest for larger redder longer-lasting tomatoes we have inad- vertently bred out key characteristics that help the plant defend itself against predators. Led by Newcastle University UK the research shows that wild tomatoes have a dual line of defense against these voracious pests an ini- tial mechanism which discourages the whitefly from settling on the plant in the first place and a second line of defense which happens inside the plant where a chemical reaction causes the plant sap to gum up blocking the whiteflys feeding tube. Thomas McDaniel who led the research says the findings highlight the natural resistance of wild plant varieties and suggests we need to breed some of that wildness back in instead of continuously looking for new methods of pest control. By selecting for certain charac- teristics we have inadvertently lost some really useful ones explains McDaniel who is based in the School of Biology at Newcastle University. The tomatoes we buy in the supermarket may have a long shelf life and be twice as big as the wild varieties but the trade-off is an intensive and costly pest control regimeboth biologi- cal and in the form of chemical pesticides. Our research suggests that if we can breed the white- fly resistant genes back into our commercial varieties then we can produce a super tomato that not only has all the characteristics that we have selected for but is also naturally resistant to the whitefly. University of California Davis Program Management for Plant Breeders PMPB is a short course offered since 2013 and extremely well received by the plant breeding commu- nity. The 2016 PMPB will be held in Davis CA September 20-22 2016. The course is now open for registration. The course objective is to enhance the management skills of professional scientists who are leading and directing plant breeding and laboratory programs in modern agricultural research and development pro- In This Issue 02 Whos Winning in This Marketplace 03 If You Want Your Value to Be Visible You Better Charge Retail Price 04 Why Test Plots Dont Sell Seed 05 SUCCESSFUL SELLINGCounterpunchingThe Only Way to Win in this Marketplace 06 POINT OF SALEHow to Sell Anything 07 The Ten Commandments of Successful Seed Sellers What Should You Be Doing Right Now The No-Brainer WHOS WINNING IN THIS MARKETPLACE T h e O N L Y T r a i n i n g S o u r c e D e d i c a t e d T o S e l l i n g S e e d I N T E R N A T I O N A L V2 l N3 WHOS WINNING MARKETPLACE T h e O N L Y T r a i n i n g S o u r c e D e d i c a t e d T o S e l l i n g S e e d I N T E R N A T I O N A L T h e O N L Y T r a i n i n g S o u r c e D e d i c a t e d T o S e l l i n g S e e d I N T E R N A T I O N A L What Should You Be Doing Right Now What Should You Be Doing Right Now The No-BrainerThe No-Brainer MARKETPLACE In This Issue 02 Want to Know Your Future As a Seed Seller 03 Who is the Stupid One The No-Brainer 04 The No.1 Way to Control Your Future 05 SUCCESSFUL SELLINGHow to Become Better at Reading the Handwriting on the Wall 06 POINT OF SALEDont be Afraid of Feedback 07 Do As I Say Not As I Do What Should You Be Doing Right Now V2 l N2 WANT TO KNOW YOUR FUTURE AS A SEED SELLER T h e O N L Y T r a i n i n g S o u r c e D e d i c a t e d T o S e l l i n g S e e d I N T E R N A T I O N A L T h e O N L Y T r a i n i n g S o u r c e D e d i c a t e d T o S e l l i n g S e e d WANT TO KNOW YOUR FUTURE AS A SEED SELLER In This IssueIn This Issue 0202 Want to Know Your Future As a Seed Seller 0303 Who is the Stupid One The No-BrainerThe No-Brainer 0404 The No.1 Way to Control Your Future 0505 SUCCESSFUL SELLINGHow to Become Better at Reading the Handwriting on the Wall Reading the Handwriting on the Wall 0606 POINT OF SALEDont be Afraid of Feedback 0707 Do As I Say Not As I Do What Should You Be Doing Right Now What Should You Be Doing Right Now V2 l N2 WANT TO KNOW YOUR FUTURE AS A SEED SELLER T h e O N L Y T r a i n i n g S o u r c e D e d i c a t e d T o S e l l i n g S e e d In This Issue02 The No.1 Threat to Every Ag Company04 SUCCESSFUL SELLINGA Guaranteed Formula to Achieve Sales Goals 05 The No-Brainer 06 POINT OF SALEPerformance Appraisals07 Someone Has to Be the Best in the World. Why Not You THE NO.1 THREAT to Every Ag Company T h e O N L Y T r a i n i n g S o u r c e D e d i c a t e d T o S e l l i n g S e e d I N T E R N A T I O N A L V1 l N3 Train Your Entire Sales Force with International SeedSeller Training Journal Consisting of winning strategies and tactics to increase performance and productivity in the work place such as Overcoming sales objections Handling difcult calls Setting and achieving individual and team sales goals Receive your own copy of the International SeedSeller Training Journal at Published in partnership with EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 37 grams of agribusiness companies and the public sector. The format includes interactive delivery with lectures and problem solving. For addi- tional information please contact Sally Mohr at sjmohrucdavis.eduor at 530-752-5775 or visit httpsbc.ucdavis.eduCoursesProgram_ Management_for_Plant_Breeders. A Cornell-led international team of researchers has launched a set of open-access genomic resources that will greatly accelerate the abil- ity of geneticists and breeders to link genes to important traits in rice. This publicly available research platformincluding seeds of diverse rice varieties genomic diversity data analysis tools and visualisation resourcesrepresents a major milestone in advancing the ability to breed new rice varieties to feed a growing population while also addressing the challenges of grow- ing crops in a changing climate. The team has published two companion papers in the journal Nature Communications. PRODUCT NEWS Arcadia Biosciences and Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds announce the achievement of a pipeline advancement target in the development of salinity tolerant rice. In two years of initial field trials rice varieties with Arcadias salinity tolerance ST trait showed double-digit yield increases under saline conditions with no loss of yield under normal conditions. Mahyco will be advancing these lead ST rice lines into their trait introgression program and conducting further multi-location field trials to validate trait perfor- mance a significant step in product development and commercial advancement for both compa- nies. With the conclusion of the salinity tolerant rice trials we are able to identify lines which have shown superior performance in acute salt stress conditions said Dr. Usha Barwale Zehr chief technology officer of Mahyco. We will now move forward to incorporate these rice lines into elite materials to bring commercial benefits to rice growers. Arcadias ST trait enables plants to produce increased yields under conditions of elevated salinity expanding the range of usable acreage for crop production and reduc- ing requirements for fresh water. ST rice is in Phase 3 of development and the trait has been applied other important row crops such as wheat and cotton. A transdisciplinary group of scientistsfrom insti- tutions in thePhilippines Colombia Indonesia the United States Australia and Japan has suc- cessfully developedricewith increased levels of iron Fe and zinc Zn throughbiofortifi- cation. The study found that the genetically engineered rice has significantly increased levels of Fe up to 15 micrograms and Zn up to 45.7 micrograms per gram of polished rice that human cells can potentially absorb. Polished rice grains contain only about two micrograms of Fe and 16 micrograms of Zn per gram and with limited variation in grain Fe content across the ricegenepoolconventional breed- ingefforts have not been successful in reaching 13 micrograms of Fe and 28 micrograms of Zn per gram of polished rice to fulfill 30 per cent of the estimated average requirement in humans. The scientists used genesnicotianamine syn- thase from rice and ferritin fromsoybeanthat together produce high-micronutrient grains. They introduced the genes to the rice variety IR64 and bred these into other popular indica varieties the most widely grown rice from South and Southeast Asia where Fe and Zn deficiencies are prevalent. TO SUBMIT YOUR INDUSTRY NEWS SEND YOUR PRESS RELEASES TO NEWSISSUESINK.COM Exclusively being in the seed coating business we offer our customers long term support and work with them to develop tailored solutions and add value to their seeds. ITS THE MIX THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE EQUIPMENT Dressing Our specialities Encrusting Pelleting CHEMISTRY SERVICE 38 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM EXTRAS NEW BSPB VIDEOS DEMONSTRATE THE VALUE OF PLANT BREEDING FOR ALL BSPB has produced a series of six short videos to explain the business and science of crop i mprovement to encourage the next generation of plant scientists and to demonstrate how plant breeding contributes positively to our everyday lives. Developed as part of the Plant Breeding Matters platform the videos seek to engage as wide a target audience as possible by making the benefits of plant breeding real and immediate to ordinary peoplefrom innovation in our food fuel and fibre products to better sports facilities and enhanced protection of our countryside biodiversity and natural environment. Renewed public interest in global issues such as climate change and food security had led to increased demand for information about the role of plant breeding in modern agriculture and food production. Plant breeders are at the forefront of the innovation needed to meet the worlds future food needs for example by developing higher- yielding more climate-resilient crop varieties and by improving the resource-use efficiency of our major crops says Dr Penny Maplestone chief executive at the British Society of Plant Breeders Ltd. We hope these short videos will engage and appeal to as wide- ranging an audience as possible in helping to explain and illustrate the positive contribution of the plant breeding and seeds sector she said. All six videos can be viewed on YouTube via the BSPB website at PLANT BREEDING PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE Recently released this new book by Dr John E. Bradshaw aims to help plant breeders by reviewing past achievements currently successful practices and emerging methods and techniques. Theoretical considerations are also presented to strike the right balance between being as simple as possible but as complex as necessary. The book is divided into four parts. Part I is an historical introduction. Part II deals with the origin of genetic variation by mutation and recombination of DNA. Part III explains how the mating system of a crop species determines the genetic structure of its landraces and Part IV considers the three complementary options for future progress use of sexual reproduction in further conventional breeding base broadening and introgression mutation breeding and genetically modified crops. The book is available online at IN THE NEWS The Crop Trusts first deposits of 2016 made the news in March of 2016. The doors of what is known as the Doomsday Vault opened recently on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard as new seeds were delivered from the U.S. and Japan. ABC Australia published anarticleand video on 7 March 2016 covering thedeposit and giving readers an inside look into theArctic Doomsday Vault the final safeguard for the worlds biodiversity. Additionally AJ a global news community for the connected generationpublished avideoon the 15 March 2016 onwhere the seeds of the world are kept in case of global catastrophewhich was watched by over 30 million viewers. EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 39 CALENDAR OF EVENTS EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 39 UPCOMING EVENTS CONFERENCES AND TRADE SHOWS IN YOUR REGION AND AROUND THE WORLD. SUBMISSIONS ARE WELCOME. EMAIL US AT NEWSISSUESINK.COM. 26-30 June The Plant Biology Europe EPSOFESPB Congress Prague Czech Republic July 3-6 17th European Congress on Biotechnology ECB2016 Krakow Poland August 29- September 1 EUCARPIA 20th General Congress Plant Breeding the Art of Bringing Science to Life Zurich Switzerland USA 18-22 June American Seed Trade Association 133rd Annual Convention Portland Oregon USA September 26- October 2 European Biotech Week 21-25 August Seed Ecology V Caet Brazil 9-11 October European Seed Association Annual Meeting Rome Italy 40 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM GIANT VIEWS THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN n for m at ion a nd com mu n ic at ion s technologies ICT have had a great effect on the world and will continue to do so. Bioinformatics will increasingly change the good old art of plant breeding. Genomic prediction and genomic selection combined with an ever-increasing knowledge of the plant its environment and end-users wishes will continue to make breeding more effective and fast. These are great opportunities for our sector. But there are more effects of the ICT revolution many of us seem less prepared for. For a long time breeders customers were farmers and breeding concentrated primarily on their needs yields resistance to pests and diseases and now drought and salt tolerance. And of course the industry gained attention from starch and oil composition to transportability of fresh products. We have started to look deeper into value chains. We are also increasingly focused on the consumer these daysthe end user of the products that we makefrom appropriate cauliflower head size for increasingly smaller families non-leaking tomatoes and snack peppers and cucumbers for our kids lunch boxes. Convenience has become an important breeding objective. Seedsmen have been invisible to the man in the street please excuse my inadvertent gender bias. Food comes from the supermarket and the more knowledgeable consumer knows it is produced by farmers. Hardly anybody bothers about the supplier of the farmer. But that may be changing so we have to prepare ourselves. The world is quickly becoming smaller as a result of the same ICT revolution we embrace in our breeding programmes. Both information and disinformation is travelling at the speed of light. Combine this with the fact that we are not just looking at our farmer-customers but also at the chain of customers behind them we have become more visible over the past few years. Is that good Yes because we are proud of our products we want the credit from society we deserve and we want politics to take our sector further instead of blocking it. Is it bad Maybe because it means we can be questioned in ways we have not been used I Niels Louwaars to. Farmers put different questions to us than consumersor those who claim to speak on behalf of consumers. Some of these questions have come up over the last few decades and the largest among us know exactly what they are and they are not very different from questions put to powerful players in other sectors. However other more specific questions are starting to reach us now. Supermarkets have challenged suppliers for quite some time on all kinds of issues from animal welfare to MRLs for crop protection chemicals. They even compete with each other on such issues. Calls are increasingrightfully or notfrom consumers who want to know which farmer has produced a particular steak or vegetable and QR codes make it possible for such information to be accessible to consumers. Now that suppliers of supermarkets are getting used to such demands will suppliers further up the chain be next We will also be questioned under the premise of transparency responsibility and supporting consumers choices. What if consumers become interested in the origins of the seeds from which their products were grown Will this just create an enormous administrative hassleand will the consumer want to pay for it Or will it affect us in more strategic issues Can we sit back and wait until the winds change again or should we discuss and determine ourselves which levels of transparency we may be able to proactively support without hurting companies strategic directions Dylans prophecy he who gets hurt will be he who gets stalled may indicate there are companies own strategic choices at stake. Im sure its discussed in several board rooms but I guess not all. We are proud of our products so we should want to let the world know what they are and how we make them even if not every single consumer will be impressed. Editors Note Niels Louwaars is the managing director of Plantum and also highly active on several boards in the seed and agriculture industry. 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