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Simultaneous multi-pathway engineering in crop plants through combinatorial genetic transformation: Creating nutritionally biofortified cereal grains for food security (BIOFORCE)
Start date: Apr 1, 2009, End date: Mar 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"BIOFORCE has a highly ambitious applied objective: to create transgenic cereal plants that will provide a near-complete micronutrient complement (vitamins A, C, E, folate and essential minerals Ca, Fe, Se and Zn) for malnourished people in the developing world, as well as built-in resistance to insects and parasitic weeds. This in itself represents a striking advance over current efforts to address food insecurity using applied biotechnology in the developing world. We will also address fundamental mechanistic aspects of multi-gene/pathway engineering through transcriptome and metabolome profiling. Fundamental science and applied objectives will be achieved through the application of an exciting novel technology (combinatorial genetic transformation) developed and patented by my research group. This allows the simultaneous transfer of an unlimited number of transgenes into plants followed by library-based selection of plants with appropriate genotypes and phenotypes. All transgenes integrate into one locus ensuring expression stability over multiple generations. This proposal represents a new line of research in my laboratory, founded on incremental advances in the elucidation of transgene integration mechanisms in plants over the past two and a half decades. In addition to scientific issues, BIOFORCE address challenges such as intellectual property, regulatory and biosafety issues and crucially how the fruits of our work will be taken up through philanthropic initiatives in the developing world while creating exploitable opportunities elsewhere. BIOFORCE is comprehensive and it provides a complete package that stands to make an unprecedented contribution to food security in the developing world, while at the same time generating new knowledge to streamline and simplify multiplex gene transfer and the simultaneous modification of multiple complex plant metabolic pathways"
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