Embrapa and Chinese Academy of Sciences develop joint agenda for collaboration on soybean genome editing

Initiative is the first activity after signing the joint memorandum of understanding between Embrapa and Inaseed of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

20.08.2020 | 20:59 (UTC -3)
Embrapa

Embrapa and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) held, on August 18th and 19th, the first workshop to develop a joint research and development agenda in the area of ​​advanced genomics for soybeans. The initiative is the first activity after the signing, in 2019, of the joint memorandum of understanding between Embrapa and Inaseed (Institute of Genetics and Biological Development), of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, during a meeting of the presidents of China and Brazil in Beijing.

workshop discussed the formation of a joint research arrangement in soybeans, in the area of ​​genetics, germplasm characterization, genomic editing, use of RNAi techniques and functional genetics of soybeans. “The event represents a significant advance in the bilateral scientific and technological cooperation agenda between Brazil and China”, highlights the president of Embrapa, Celso Moretti.

The partnership with Inaseed has been negotiated since 2018 in an action that also involved the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, the Brazilian embassy in China, and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. “It is strategic for Brazil and also for China to join forces in research into soybean cultivation. China is Brazil's largest trading partner and the destination for approximately 80% of Brazilian soybean exports (in natura). We can invest jointly to solve crop bottlenecks and improve value addition and new quality attributes for Brazilian soy”, explains the leader of Embrapa's genetics and advanced biotechnology portfolio and researcher at Embrapa Soja, Alexandre Nepomuceno.

The first workshop It would be held in person in February 2020, at Embrapa Soja, in Londrina, PR, but was suspended due to the pandemic. The presentation meeting of the technical teams took place via videoconference with restricted access to invited researchers and the presence of Embrapa's executive board, representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Brazilian embassy in Beijing. Guy de Capville, director of research and development at Embrapa, posed some challenges for the scientists involved: “We need to think about this partnership both in terms of advancing knowledge and innovation, that is, identifying projects that have high potential to take science to the next level. Marketplace".

For Hugo Peres, representative of the Brazilian embassy in Beijing, the complementary nature of Brazil-China relations are motivating factors for greater joint investments in science and technology. “It is a cooperation with a win-win profile, where food security, supply and the needs of the Chinese supply chain are combined with the Brazilian vocation as an agricultural powerhouse with high technology and Brazilian economic development with the generation of jobs and income in Brazil . Science has always been behind Brazilian agricultural progress,” he highlighted.

In addition to researchers from Embrapa Soja, they participated in the workshop researchers from Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Research and Development Secretariat, International Relations Management at SIRE. At the end of the event, the Brazilian counterparts highlighted the great potential for cooperation and synergy between research areas. “We have a lot to collaborate on and we will work to move this agenda forward quickly with joint projects”, highlighted the lead scientist for the Inaseed joint, Zhixi Tian. “The next steps involve preparing proposals for joint technical projects and searching for sources of financing. There are possibilities to expand technical cooperation to other crops, as well as interest in advancing digital agriculture agendas”, highlights Nepomuceno. The Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) is made up of 110 research institutions, 26 of which work in the field of life sciences.

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