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CropDesign is an agricultural biotech company delivering agronomic traits for the global commercial seed markets. The company’s trait discovery and development program focuses on enhancing grain yield in cereals, such as corn and rice. The company’s trait discovery program is powered by the TraitMill™ platform, a unique platform for applied genomics.
CropDesign is an agricultural biotech company delivering agronomic traits for the global commercial seed markets. The company’s trait discovery and development program focuses on enhancing grain yield in cereals, such as corn and rice. Corn is the world’s leading crop in terms of seed market value and yield enhancement is the most important value driver for both growers and seed companies. The rice seed market is today less developed but is expected to represent a substantial growth opportunity for the years to come.
The company’s trait discovery program is powered by the TraitMill™ platform, a unique platform for applied genomics. Through TraitMill™, the company has discovered a range of proprietary leads for yield-enhancement, drought tolerance and improved nutrient use efficiency, and is further testing and developing those leads in rice and other crops with the aim to launch commercial products in these crops.
Founded in 1998 as a spin-off from the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), CropDesign employs about 140 people at its facilities in Gent, Belgium. CropDesign is today member of the international BASF Plant Science Group.
CropDesign’s technology platform closes the application gap between classical genomics and the development of improved or novel crop traits. Gene leads from genomics are often based on in silico predictions without any concrete proof whether they will actually make a phenotypic difference to a crop. The TraitMill™ is designed to determine the real effects on real crops of changes in expression patterns of either single genes, or selected gene combinations.
The TraitMill™ comprises proprietary bioinformatics tools, organ-specific gene engineering systems, efficient methods for plant transformation, and a unique set up for automated high resolution phenotypic evaluation of crop performance. TraitMill™ is currently running in a high throughput mode for rice, with an annual testing capacity of some 140,000 rice plants. With the TraitMill™, CropDesign has the largest corporate program for high-throughput agronomic trait identification in cereals.
CropDesign offers access to its rice-based TraitMill™ technology platform to phenotype the effect of genes of interest. Target traits can include for instance seed yield, seed composition, biomass, biomass composition, plant performance under either drought stress, salinity stress, or nutrient stress. TraitMill™ monitors plant performance during the whole life cycle, therefore allowing to capturing dynamic responses of the plant.
CropDesign has established research alliances in the field of plant growth and stress tolerance with various organisations, including the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB, Belgium), the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC, Australia), the Crop Functional Genomics Center (Korea) and Academia Sinica (Taiwan).