Aug 17, 2021
BASF’s vegetable seeds business partners with Nature Source Improved Plants

BASF’s vegetable seeds business has collaborated with Nature Source Improved Plants as an external collaborator since 2008, but as of July 1, 2021, the organizations have entered into a more intensive, comprehensive partnership.

The collaboration focuses on four key segments within the cucumber, pepper, and tomato breeding programs to develop and execute breeding work-flows, combining the NSIP genomic selection toolbox and BASF germplasm and breeding expertise

NSIP’s experience in genomic selection across a variety of crops makes them an excellent candidate to complement our own internal expertise. By working as an additional partner in the specified breeding segments, NSIP offers knowledge that will help us introduce desired traits more quickly.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, NSIP will work closely with selected breeding teams, applying their extensive bank of algorithms to improve data driven decision making throughout the breeding and selection process.

“By applying these algorithms with additional phenotyping, our breeding teams will improve the output of our predictive breeding efforts,” Johan Warringa, head of R&D EMEA, vegetable seeds, BASF, said in a news release.

Predictive breeding brings together tools such as phenotyping, genomic selection, and statistics to help breeders make data driven predictions of which lines will perform best in a given situation. Steve Tanksley, chief technology officer of Nature Source Improved Plants (NSIP) added, “NSIP is excited to be providing both its expertise and advanced analytical tools in this collaboration to develop higher yielding, and higher quality vegetables for the benefit of farmers and consumers worldwide.”

“Of course, we are also working on genomic selection in-house, but NSIP brings important additional expertise and their unique Operation Research based approach to breeding and statistical algorithms. By partnering with NSIP, we are launching forward in several areas where they can apply their existing expertise and that allows us to better focus on other key areas with our own research,” said Jan van den Berg, scouting and collaboration management, bioscience research, BASF.

It’s a key component of the strategy for BASF’s vegetable seeds R&D division — carefully selecting the best collaborations in order to stay on the cutting edge of research.

“We cannot do it alone,” said Andreas Sewing, vice president R&D, vegetable seeds, BASF. “In order to tap into the best innovations, we must look outwards and bring expertise in where it can strengthen our own efforts. This is part of our R&D strategy, to strike the balance between internal experts in a very nuanced industry, with external partners, who can help us make big strides in specific sectors.”

Suresh Prabhakaran, chief operating officer of NSIP, said, “Our aim is to be a trusted strategic partner and advance the frontiers of genomics and production technologies. We are excited to leverage complementary expertise of NSIP and BASF’s vegetable seeds business to help increase productivity and meet the current and future food needs of our global community”.

Collaborations are an important part of business for all of BASF and since some of the company’s other seed divisions have also shown interest in NSIP, this is an exciting opportunity to see what can be done with a stronger, more intensive and purposeful collaboration.

“Especially since 2020 has taught us a lot about how distance is a much smaller factor in partnerships like this than we once believed,” said van den Berg. “Distance between partners was often seen as a barrier, but after being forced to find work-arounds in 2020, we’ve come to realize that distance is just one factor, and often a surmountable one, especially in the case of using computational tools. It opens the door to even more collaboration possibilities for both the vegetable seeds business and the rest of BASF.”

For more information,  visit www.agriculture.basf.com.

Established in 2006, Nature Source Improved Plants (NSIP) is an advanced optimization analytics company located in New York, and Chiapas, Mexico; and dedicated to the conservation, evaluation and utilization of natural genetic resources to deliver high performing plant materials and creating value and efficiency through innovative and sustainable cutting-edge technologies for the global community.

NSIP is focused on maximizing genetic performance via a unique pipeline of new breeding technologies based on genomics, operations research and other advanced fields of mathematics and computer science. NSIP’s advanced genetics and breeding technologies have resulted in significant increases in productivity and quality across a wide variety of field, vegetable, perennial and orphan crops, while minimizing R&D costs.

NSIP is also focused on the development of high throughput and high-fidelity in vitro propagation techniques to meet the needs of growers – especially those involved in the production of perennial plantation crops.

For more information about NSIP, visit: www.nsiplants.com.




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