Press Release


Planting the Future with Genomics

Scientific community to address challenges in genomic technologies to secure the future of global agriculture at the 3rd Plant Genomics Congress Asia

Kuala Lumpur, 11-12 April 2016 – The plant science community are being called to prioritise genomic tools and resources that can effectively address global challenges in agriculture, during the opening of the 3rd Plant Genomics Congress: Asia in Kuala Lumpur. The two-day event is organised by Global Engage, in partnership with Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) and Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation (MOSTI).

During the opening ceremony, guest of honour the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation, Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah, urged the plant science community to take advantage of the latest advances in state-of-the-art sequencing platforms to improve commercial crops and plant breeding in meeting the global demand for food, healthcare, biofuels and biomaterials. Although tremendous progress has been made in genomics to revolutionise plant research in just a few years, he said more effective solutions are required to solve the challenge of integrating and translating these genomic technologies to improve plant breeding and increase valuable crop production.

“Knowledge transfer as well as strategic policies are key towards the effective application of genomic technologies in agriculture, especially in enhancing plant breeding and production of commercial crops like palm oil, rubber and cocoa, which are high in economic value. Researchers, industry players and financial institutions should join forces with plant breeding and farming communities and be actively involved in this knowledge transfer, in order for agriculture to prosper through plant genomic advances,” he said, addressing the local and international audience. “Governments will have to put effective policies in place, whereby research institutes should have strategic research based on the needs and priorities of the country. Only then can we obtain the economic benefits from plant genomics and directly impact the well-being of our communities, while securing the future of our agriculture.”

Chief Executive Officer of BiotechCorp, Dato’ Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal said that genomics can transform the future of agriculture, especially in Malaysia, whereby the sector is an integral part of the bioeconomy. “Drawing on the adoption of technologies like plant genomics is an important strategy for Malaysia to revitalise its agriculture sector and transform it into a vibrant sector of the bioeconomy. Several BioNexus Status companies, including Orion Biosains and ACGT are currently using genomic tools to help design diagnostics kits and to enhance plants characteristics for higher yield production, and developing resistance to pests as well as diseases. We need to focus on strategically adopting these technologies to maintain our competitive advantage and enhance agricultural productivity, sustainability and value added,” he said.

The 3rd Plant Genomics Congress: Asia, occurring annually, expands on similar meetings in Europe, America and last year’s highly-acclaimed Asia meeting. Addressing emerging topics in NGS, omics and gene editing technologies, the congress delivers coherent insight into an engaging and rapidly progressive field of research that presents significant opportunities for both start-ups and existing companies. Leading local and international academic and industry speakers share their thoughts and ideas through a series of keynote presentations, case studies and interactive panel discussions.

The development of state-of-the-art sequencing platforms has led to the dramatic development of plant research over the last 5 years. With the cost of obtaining genome sequences at an all-time low, this is one of the most exciting times for innovative research and investment opportunities into plant science.

Leading service and platform providers such as Agilent Technologies and Pacific Biosciences, PerkinElmer, DNAnexus, Bioline, Labquip, Fisher Scientific, Agena Bioscience, Sysmex, Photon Systems Instruments and Diversity Arrays Technology will be showcasing their latest technologies in the exhibition area and will be available to discuss the new techniques currently being implemented.

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