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Department of Plant Sciences

New initiative for synthetic biology in plants

Plant scientists at Cambridge and Norwich have been awarded £12 million funding for a new UK synthetic biology centre – OpenPlant.

OpenPlant is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the John Innes Centre on Norwich Research Park. The funding will be shared equally between the two institutions. It is one of three new UK centres for synthetic biology announced today by science minister David Willetts. Over the next five years the three centres will receive more than £40 million in funding from the BBSRC and EPSRC.

The OpenPlant Research initiative aims to create a hub for interdisciplinary exchange between Cambridge and Norwich, between the fundamental and applied sciences, that will underpin advances in UK agriculture and bioproduction. It will establish an open exchange of new plant tools and DNA components that will promote commercial innovation and international scientific exchange. In addition, the OpenPlant Forum will explore wider implications of the technology at local and global scales. This will bring together a wide range of engineers, scientists and policy developers to explore new technologies and possible models for sustainable agriculture, bioproduction and land use.

Read more at the University of Cambridge news page.

Image shows red autofluorescent chloroplasts in intact plant tissues