Empowering discovery in agricultural and environmental research 'in the zone' and beyond

Published: 20 February 2024

In this MSZ Business Forum, we welcomed a team from Illumina, a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function to learn about the advances in Next Generation Sequencing and genotyping.

On Tuesday 30th January, Midlothian Science Zone Business Forum guests gathered at Roslin Innovation Centre, the business hub of the University of Edinburgh Easter Bush Campus, for business networking before an informative presentation led by Laura Ingram, Technical Sales Specialist with Illumina.

Laura provided background on the use of genetic information in agriculture, starting with phenotypic evaluations to the development of tools that enable genome wide discovery and screening of large populations to improve the process of developing crops and livestock with desirable traits. 

With recent technological advancements the cost of such genetic investigations has significantly reduced making them much more accessible to agricultural research communities. 

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Illumina offers sequencing and array-based technologies for genetic research, such as sequencers, microarrays, and instruments to unravel the complexities of the genome and their effect on breeding, production, food processing and consumption including all steps from gene to plate which enables greater traceability.

These innovations open the door to new discoveries in areas such as environmental biomonitoring, innovative crop and soil treatments, veterinary health, conservation, as well as food chain management. Using their next generation sequencing (NGS) technology Illumina can also support genetic modification and editing technologies, pathogen identification and outbreak control as well as metagenomic investigations.

In Edinburgh their instruments are available at two facilities, located at the NHS Lothian Western General Hospital and the University of Edinburgh's King’s Building.

And in Midlothian, 'in the zone', Illumina have collaborated with the Molecular Biology team at SRUC Vet Services who reported that they found the company to be extremely helpful in discussions regarding their Next Generation Sequencing platforms.

"They have invested a great deal of effort in furthering our understanding of the technology, providing both on-site and online explainer sessions, and also in providing guidance on selecting the right platform for our sequencing requirements and budget."

The presentations were followed by an interesting discussion and Q & A session on the areas that Illumina can assist businesses in Midlothian and also how those businesses can support the next generation of innovators through educational support and the potential for NGS-related workshops.

For anyone interested in learning more from the Illumina team or to discuss the services available, please contact Laura Ingram. The PowerPoint presentation shown at the event is also available on request.

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If you missed this MSZ Business Forum and want to find out more about research, expertise or business support 'in the zone', please email Emma McCallum, MSZ Project Coordinator. 

The purpose of MSZ Business Forum is to create an opportunity for discussion, collaboration and awareness of other businesses 'in the zone'.  The next event is expected to be held in April, and details of host and theme will be announced soon - as always, there will be time for networking.

To be kept informed of forthcoming events or opportunities for collaboration, please contact Emma McCallum, Project Coordinator. 

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Roslin Innovation Centre

  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Easter Bush Campus
  • Midlothian EH25 9RG

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Midlothian Science Zone

  • Roslin Innovation Centre
  • The University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Campus
  • Midlothian, EH25 9RG, Scotland

Project Co-ordinator: Emma McCallum

T: +44 (0)131 651 9000

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