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Brassica : Harvesting the Genome, Diversity and Products

9.18 United Kingdom

Brassica crops:

Oilseed rape is the most profitable UK arable crop and the cropping area is currently undergoing an increase. It is grown on about 500,000 hectares in the UK, with the production of 1.5 million tonnes valued at £408m (MAFF, 1997).

Oil from rapeseed is the basis of industrial applications for margarines and other edible products for the processing industry as well as polymer processing for non-edible products. There is some interest in the potential of biodiesel from rape. At present oil from the seeds is the most valuable product, with the residual protein-rich meal used as an animal feed.  

The value of the UK horticultural brassica crop is £184m (745,000 tonnes) from 39,000 hectares (MAFF, 1997).

The majority of horticultural brassicas are marketed as fresh product but a significant proportion are processed as frozen vegetable products, cauliflowers for pickles, white cabbage for coleslaw, baby-leaf brassicas for salad packs.

Research & Development:

A recent 'Review of BBSRC-funded research relevant to Crop Science'  recommended that the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) should "seek to re-balance its plant science research portfolio to place greater emphasis on crop science, and to promote the transfer of knowledge from plant science to crop science".  

Genomics initiatives and resources:

2000-2004BBSRC Investigating Genome Function initiative (£1.6m). Development of BAC physical contigs for A and C genomes, anchored to Arabidopsis with 1300 probes. Public domain database. All data, clones and filters are available in the public domain.  http://brassica.bbsrc.ac.uk/IGF/

                  -2004Integrated Marker System for Oilseed Rape Breeding (IMSORB) is an EU programme co-ordinated by JIC with Chinese, German and industrial  partners. Developing SNP markers, high resolution map and QTL analysis.

2003-WarwickHRI B. oleracea EST programme, in collaboration with AAFC, Saskatoon, Canada.  The aim is to generate data for up to 30k clones, with the first tranche of sequences available in public domain Jan 2005. Libraries are available for additional sequencing. http://grc.warwick.ac.uk/

2002-The genomics of plant-virus co-evolution in wild Brassica species. (NERC Environmental Genomics). Collaboration between University of Birmingham, Warwick, CEH Oxford and AAFC, Canada. Using B. napus microarrays.

2003-Integration of reference map for B. rapa Multinational Sequencing Project (Warwick)

2004-BAC-end and comparative sequencing - initial contribution to Multinational Brassica Genome Project (Scott, Bath; Bancroft, JIC)

Centres of Brassica research n the UK

Universities

Birmingham

Nottingham

Reading

Warwick

Oilseed, vegetables

B. oleracea

B. rapa, natural populations

B. oleracea, B. napus, B. rapa

Institutes

John Innes Centre

Rothamsted Research

?SCRI

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Institute of Food Research

SAC

Oilseeds

Oilseeds

Swede

B. rapa, B. oleracea

B. oleracea

Companies

Biogemma (Groupe Limagrain)

Cambridge Plant Breeders

Syngenta

Elsoms (breeding)

Nickersons (breeding)

Saaten Union (breeding)

Tozers (breeding)

Oilseed rape

Oilseed rape

Oilseed rape/vegetables

Oilseed rape/vegetables

Oilseed rape

Oilseed rape

Vegetables

Draft White Paper for Multinational Brassica Genome Project (MBGP);   12/01/2006

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