Inari, a US-based Flagship Pioneering Company, opens a branch at the Technology Park in Ghent. This site, close to the partners VIB and ILVO, allows access to outstanding local genomic, bioinformatic and plant science expertise. The Ghent team of Inari will be focusing on increasing water and nitrogen-use efficiencies in crops, which is critical to address the climate change and to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.

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Since 2017, VIB performs field trials with maize plants in which small genetic changes have been introduced using the precision breeding technique CRISPR. Until the end of July 2018, the federal Belgian authorities allowed VIB to perform such trials without a specific GMO permit. However, after the ruling of the European Court of Justice of 25 July 2018 in case C-528/16 the federal authorities have changed their position. For that reason, VIB has applied for a field trial permit to be able to continue and expand its research in 2019.

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The microbiome is “a newly discovered and largely unexplored organ” with a huge metabolic capacity. As much as human health depends on the gut microbiome, plant health depends on the soil microbiome. In fact, plants have been described as organisms that have their gut on the outside.

This free Cell Press LabLinks is organized in our UGent-VIB Research Building by Sofie Goormachtig, Susanne Brink, Caryn Navarro, Gail Teitzel and Jeroen Raes. Find more information and register here.

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