The mission of the National Agricultural Genotyping Center is to translate scientific discoveries into solutions for production agriculture, food safety, functional foods, bioenergy and national security.
At present, there exists a large unmet need for high-throughput genotyping services within U.S. agricultural research, food production and safety testing. The National Corn Growers Association in partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center proposes the establishment of a national center for agricultural genotyping to alleviate the inefficiencies, redundancies, bottlenecks and gaps that impede research and commercial development.
The National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC), a 501(c)(3) corporation, will contribute to maintaining the safety of our food supply, economic stability and national security by making high-throughput genotyping available to both private and public scientists from breeders all the way to quality control and food safety scientists.
Safer Food Supply
Recent contaminated food outbreaks in the U.S. and abroad have resulted in deaths, serious illness and tremendous costs to economies. A recent study by Georgetown University found contaminated products in the U.S. result in total annual losses approaching $152 billion. By making it faster and easier to isolate contaminated products at the earliest points of the supply chain, we believe that high-throughput genotyping can protect consumers and help manufacturers avoid costly product recalls.
One of the most important ways the NAGC will improve U.S. competitiveness is by allowing the agricultural sector to leverage its fundamental strengths specifically, its technological prowess and world-class human expertise in research and development. By helping to unlock the value of the nation’s technology and expertise, the NAGC will improve the agricultural sector’s competitiveness in key areas: breeding, production, product quality, safety, and the rate of new product development.
The NAGC will offer several technology platforms and services including the MOL-PCR high-throughput genotyping platform originally developed and patented by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). MOL-PCR offers high-multiplex, high-throughput, accuracy, low-cost and quick turnaround. In addition NAGC will offer other genotyping platforms including but not limited to Taqman, RT-PCR (qPCR), sequencing, SSR, ELISA and microarray. Services will include contract research, assay design, assay validation, assay conversion and genotyping fee for service work. NAGC also can help with high-throughput sequencing discovery work by accessing LANL’s sequencing capabilities.
Armed with technologies and practices unknown to the previous generation, today’s farmers produce yields on the same acreage that their parents never thought possible. However, if U.S. agriculture is going to continue this trend amid the pressures of market volatility and a growing world population, this country must pursue investments in research and technology infrastructure that demonstrate the quickest and greatest returns.
In analyzing the current state of research and technology in the U.S. agricultural sector, the greatest opportunity to capture returns resides in the efficient utilization of critical processes, highly-specialized expertise and breakthrough technologies. Specifically, this entails the application of genomic information or genotyping to develop new traits and products for the purpose of improving production agriculture’s performance and protecting our food supply.
The National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC) provides the most affordable and effective framework for maintaining the safety of our food supply, economic stability and national security by making high-throughput genotyping available to both private and public scientists.
The National Agricultural Genotyping Center is supported through a public and private partnership of leading research and trade organizations including Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Corn Growers Association, and Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will provide the technological and informatics expertises to maintain technological advancements and ensure diverse genotyping needs are met. In order to maintain close ties to the agriculture sector, the NAGC has partnered with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). NCGA represents 35,000 dues-paying corn farmers from 47 states and the interests of more than 300,000 growers who contribute through corn checkoff programs. The NAGC has full support from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to further provide research expertise, administrative and operation support, and advising oversight. This partnership with the Danforth Center will provide a rich, collaborative research environment and access to over 170 leading plant scientists. The NAGC also will forge partnerships with land-grant universities, non-land-grant universities, government agencies and industry.