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13 June, 2014 - 10:00 By News Desk

UK-Colombia alliance on global food security

BIOS-TGAC Mario Caccamo

Director Mario Caccamo and Computational Biology Group Leader Dr Sarah Ayling at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) in Norfolk visited BIOS, Colombia’s Centre for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, to explore potential collaborations in crop genomics and bioinformatics.

The visit, which also included the British Embassy’s official Chris Banahan, was aimed at strengthening international partnerships between the UK and Colombia, where scientific institutes can share resources for future key collaborative projects.

Focusing on agriculture, the institutes explored the competitiveness and production of crop yields through genomics and bioinformatics.

Colombia is a country where agriculture is a vital issue, and alliances such as TGAC and BIOS inspire new methods and improve processes to aid the economic and social revolution of this area.

Caccamo said: “We can immediately look at the option of exchanging knowledge, information and resources from the UK with BIOS, sending TGAC staff with many years’ experience in bioinformatics to spend some time and develop tools, and vice versa with colleagues from Colombia over to us.

“Further down the line we can look at the opportunity of studying areas that are more project-specific for TGAC, for example, the improvement of sugar cane.

“Through highly-effective genetic studies, major crops such as Cassava can be revolutionised in just a few years, and could have a significant impact on food security in developing countries such as Africa and parts of South America.”

Juan Franco, administrative and financial director at BIOS, added: “For Bios, it is very important to generate this kind of strategic alliance that allows us to not only work on joint projects to share significant results, but will also highlight the potential of two international Institutes’ collaboration to create solutions for any user.”

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