ADVANCED AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES: OPPORTUNITIES FOR INNOVATION
On August 15, near the village of Rogachevo, Dmitrovsky District, Moscow Region, the Potato Forum-2018 was held, dedicated to promising technologies and innovations in the agricultural industry.
The meeting was organized by: Doka-Gene Technologies LLC, PhytoEngineering Research Center LLC, Resistom International Laboratory LLC, Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry named after Academicians M.M. Shemyakina and Yu.A. Ovchinnikova RAS, Association of seed potato producers "New Potato". The event was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the Fund for the Promotion of Innovations, the Skolkovo Foundation, and the Russian Science Foundation.
The forum was attended by Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation A.A. Fursenko, Secretary of the Council of the Federal Scientific and Technical Program for the Development of Agriculture for 2017-2025 E.K. Nechaeva, General Director of the Innovation Promotion Fund S.G. Polyakov, academician, vice-president of the RAS I.M. Donnik, academician, director of the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences A.G. Gabibov, Assistant Minister of Higher Education and Science E.V. Zhuravleva, Head of the Office of Programs and Projects of the Russian Science Foundation A.N. Blinov, Vice-Rector of RSAU MSHA S.L. Belopukhov, Minister of Agriculture of the Moscow Region A.V. Razin, head of the Dmitrovsky district, E.B. Troshenkova.
The central event of the business program of the forum was the scientific and practical conference "CRISPR-Cas system in editing the genomes of potatoes and other crops", which presented the results of fundamental and applied research carried out by the companies of the DokaGin group in cooperation with scientists from the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Moscow State University with the support of the Russian Science Foundation.
About the conference, as well as other significant events of this day, we asked Pavel Ivanov, the head of the seed potato sales and diagnostic services group of DokaJin Group of Companies.
— Pavel, the technology of genomic editing in the professional potato growing environment is rarely discussed, although the topic is certainly relevant. Why do you think?
- In Russia (and in the world as a whole), genomic editing technology is not yet very widespread, this is a new direction. To that
in our country, achievements in this area are treated with particular caution; for most people, a plant that has undergone genomic editing is genetically modified, although in reality this is not so at all.
Doca - Genetic Technologies has been doing genomic editing for over three years. The guests of the forum could familiarize themselves with the achievements of our scientists by visiting the company's demonstration site, where the potato plants of the Chicago variety were presented, in which, using the CRISPR-Cas genome editing technology and the biosafety method of delivery of genetic constructs patented by Doca - Genetic Technologies LLC, was "knocked out »The coilin gene, which made it possible to obtain plants more resistant to the Y virus, as well as to osmotic stress (for growing potatoes in more saline soils). Also on the site it was possible to inspect plants of the Chicago variety with a partially "turned off" gene of vacuolar invertase, a reduced content of reducing sugars and, accordingly, with a reduced formation of acrylamide in the production of chips.
- Are there any difficulties with the implementation of the technology?
- There are still many questions.
Firstly, despite the biosafe method of delivering genetic constructs that we developed, the CRISPR-Cas editing technology itself is not Russian, and for its use not for scientific but for commercial purposes, permission of the copyright holders is required.
Secondly, plants edited in this way, of course, are not considered transgenic (GMOs), but their status in the Russian Federation is not fixed by law. Opinions in the world are also divided: in the USA such plants are not classified as GMOs, and in the EU, more recently, they have the opposite opinion.
In addition, alternatives to CRISPR technology are already emerging in the scientific community, based on the properties of different types of RNA to regulate the work of genes, as well as on the properties of peptides to regulate the processes occurring in plants.
The advantage of these technologies is that they are cheaper, easier to use and certainly cannot be interpreted as GMOs. In this direction, unlike CRISPR-Cas, domestic science has a real opportunity not to catch up with the technology of the outgoing generation, but to form a new technological structure, occupying a leading position.
- At the forum, DokaGin Group also presented its varieties. Where are your breeders going? What is in demand on the market today?
- All varieties that we bring to the market (Carmen, Prime, Flamingo, Indigo, Real) are high-yielding, the potential yield reaches 70 t / ha. A distinctive feature of our selection is premium quality varieties with perfect uniformity of tubers, shallow eyes and shiny skin.
- During the forum there was a presentation of the project of biological defense equipment based on RNA interference. Tell us about it.
- Unlike traditional biopreparations of targeted action based on compositions of bacteriophages and bacteria-antagonists (that is, "enemies" of pathogenic bacteria), which have been developed in our company for several years and have even been tested on our own production conveyor (washed potatoes before packing and sending to retail chains is undergoing such treatment), this project aims to create a new generation of biological products for the protection of potato plants in the field through several treatments during the growing season. The correct scientific name of the drug is as follows: a spray applied plant protection drug that provides an RNA interference effect on the virulence genes of the target pathogen.
Two of the most economically significant threats to farmers were selected as target pathogens - virus Y and potato late blight. While the project is at the R&D stage. It should be noted that the decision is not accompanied by a GM modification of the plant itself.
According to the statistics of the organizing committee, this year more than 300 guests attended the Potato Forum. We are sure that each of them received a lot of useful information, was inspired by new ideas and received a boost of energy until the next meeting in the village of Rogachevo.