On May 11-12, 2017 representatives from North Carolina State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences traveled to Flanders to share their research and gain insight from their counterpart at VIB. Emphasizing areas where the resources of NC State and VIB can complement each other, their visit included a tour to VIB’s microscopy lab and an intro to VIB’s ability to complete high-throughput phenotyping. 

Deborah Thompson (Director of Research Partnerships at CALS): " The aim of this visit was to start creating opportunities for collaboration that lead to sustainable, affordable approaches to feed the world’s growing population."

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Researchers from VIB-UGent have discovered a gene that significantly increases plant growth and seed yield in maize. Research into crop yield is crucial because of the increasing incidence of extreme weather conditions affecting agriculture. The results from laboratory research were confirmed during two-year field trials conducted in Belgium and the United States showing that this gene can increase seed yield in maize hybrids by 10 to 15%. The results of the greenhouse and field trials are published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

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Life-sciences go through a number of data challenges that force the scientific community to rethink many aspects of data management. To encounter these challenges and to share data amongst European researchers, the ELIXIR initiative was launched. ELIXIR is an intergovernmental organisation that brings together life-science resources from across Europe. It coordinates, integrates and sustains bioinformatics resources across its member states and enables users in academia and industry to access vital services for their research. Belgium recently joined ELIXIR as a full member. The Belgian ELIXIR node is coordinated by Frederik Coppen (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology).

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The 2016 Editors' choice of Nature – category Genomics – goes to ‘The genome of the seagrass Zostera marina reveals angiosperm adaptation to the sea’. This is a publication of an international research team co-led by Yves Van de Peer (VIB - UGent) and Jeanine Olsen (GELIFES, University of Groningen).

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