Canadian Government Provides Grant for Collaboration Between Cutting Edge AgTech Company and Canadian University
Partners will employ unique technology to improve photosynthesis and advance canola production
GUELPH, Ontario, May 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural technology company unlocking the genetic potential of plants through cloud biology, today announced a partnership with the University of Guelph to develop traits that increase canola yield as part of the Genome Canada Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP). The GAPP, along with provincial co-funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, will provide $2 million towards the $3.4 million project.
The GAPP funds research and development projects that address industry opportunities in order to accelerate the application of genomics-derived solutions and sustainable innovations that are beneficial to Canadians. Canola is a major driver of the Canadian economy representing $7.4 billion in farm cash receipts and over $9 billion in exports, primarily to China, Japan, Mexico and the United States. Canola also serves a critical role in our global food system. Seeds are crushed into a cooking oil that is one of the lowest in saturated fats, making it a popular choice for food services seeking to lower trans fats in their products. The remaining canola meal provides a high protein livestock feed.
"Canola is a critically important crop that has not received sufficient focus to tap its full genetic potential," said Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill. "By supporting collaboration between academia and industry, GAPP aligns with Benson Hill's vision to empower a more diverse community of innovators unlocking the global genetic potential of plants to benefit people and our planet."
Benson Hill, using its proprietary CropOS™ cognitive computational platform, has identified a portfolio of trait candidates demonstrated to improve photosynthesis, one of the most complex systems in plants that is responsible for all agriculture production. In collaboration with the University of Guelph, researchers will validate these and other trait candidates in canola for further testing and development.
"Benson Hill's system has developed promising trait leads with the potential to significantly accelerate the development of more productive and sustainable canola varieties," said Dr. Peter Pauls, University of Guelph. "Accessing the most advanced genomics through this partnership will benefit the Canadian economy and consumers around the world, aligning well with the goals of the GAPP."
Benson Hill's platform combines vast datasets and biological knowledge with big data analytics and scalable cloud-based computing—an intersection of disciplines known as cloud biology—to predict biological outcomes for any target crop using any genomics tool, from breeding to gene editing to transgenics. The ability to more accurately predict gene targets that are linked to certain phenotypic outcomes with CropOS™ enables Benson Hill to accelerate identification of promising trait candidates, reducing product development costs and increasing speed to market.
About Genome Canada
Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada which acts as a catalyst for developing and applying genomics and genomic-based technologies to create economic and social benefits for Canadians. By connecting ideas and people across public and private sectors to find new uses for genomics, and investing in large-scale science and technology to fuel innovation, Genome Canada translates discoveries into solutions across key sectors of national importance, including health, agriculture and agri-food, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, the environment, energy and mining.
About Benson Hill Biosystems
Benson Hill Biosystems is an agriculture technology company focused on improving crop performance using big data analytics and plant genomics. We partner with organizations to harness genetic variation through breeding, trait development, and genome editing to enhance the sustainability of food, feed, fiber and fuel production. More information can be found online at www.bensonhillbio.com. Follow us on Twitter at @BensonHillBio.