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Healthy Plants. Healthy People. Healthy Planet. Securing a safer, healthier and more sustainable future through the power of plant and microbial science.

Our work delivers the five key levers needed to harness the power of plants and microbes

To date, work undertaken at both institutes has resulted
in a number of ground-breaking
and practical solutions to global
challenges. Our work is the result of academic research as well as intense collaboration with the private sector to explore specific and applied scientific solutions to societal
problems and economic development.

How we’re bringing our vision to life

UNLOCKING A £4.3
BILLION OPPORTUNITY
IN THE WHEAT GENOME

 

The value of It has been estimated that globally
historic John Innes
Centre discoveries
in wheat are worth
£4.9 billion globally

Using multiple state-of-the-art
genetic approaches, John Innes
Centre scientists have unlocked
some of the hidden potential for
increased yield within the wheat
genome. By controlling the genetic
mechanism that determines seed
size, increases in grain weight of
up to 13% are now possible.
The value of historic John Innes
Centre discoveries in wheat are
worth £4.9 billion globally. The
centre’s current wheat programme
will generate an additional £4.3
billion in global gross value-added
over the next 25 years through
improved productivity

 

 

BIOFORTIFYING
GRAINS TO COMBAT
MALNOURISHMENT

It has been estimated that globally

43% of children 

29% of children 

of reproductive
age have anaemia, and
about half of these cases
result from iron deficiency.

 

Zinc deficiency is associated with stunted growth
in children under the age of 5 years and reported to
affect approximately 155 million children globally.
Recent research by the John Innes Centre into
the wheat genome has produced a variant
that contains twice the typical amount of iron,
something that cannot be achieved by normal
breeding and is made possible only by the latest
developments in scientific practices.

 

 

Wheat Blast devastated field alongside resistant one Bangladesh

FINDING SOLUTIONS TO
INDUSTRIAL CHALLENGES

The John Innes Centre and The
Sainsbury Laboratory’s expertise
in the practical application of plantand microbial-based discoveries
is the basis for expansive
collaboration with industry.
Private sector collaboration
is a core function of the John
Innes Centre and The Sainsbury
Laboratory, and our institutions
play a vital role in extending our
capabilities to industry, allowing
organisations to conduct crucial
product research and development
that would not be possible in-house.
Our capabilities lead to the
creation of products and
technologies that enable
businesses to thrive, creating
significant economic value across
multiple sectors. As a hub and focal
point for research, we allow ideas
to evolve into commercial realities
for societal benefit.

REACTIVE AND PRE EMPTIVE STRIKES
AGAINST PLANT DISEASES

In the recent case of ash-dieback – a devastating
pathogen that affects ash trees and could cost
the UK £7 billion over the next six years – The
Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Centre and
neighbouring Earlham Institute led through their
own funding the sequencing of the pathogen to
identify genetic strategies to combat it.
Our expertise in microbial science has also enabled
partnerships between The Sainsbury Laboratory
and the BecA-ILRI Hub in Kenya, and International
Potato Centre in Uganda, for example, to develop
new disease-resistant varieties of

USING PLANT AND MICROBIAL SCIENCE AS A TEST BED FOR NEW VACCINES

Hypertrans, a John Innes Centre-developed
platform for synthesising viral particles in plants,
is now at the forefront of developing vaccines
to COVID-19, zika, polio, and animal infections
such as Bluetongue virus in sheep.
Practical applications will be crucial in the
development in vaccines for other existing
and emergent viral infections. An example can
be seen in vaccine adjuvants originating from
rare South American trees which
are now being produced in standard
laboratory plants to address
biodiversity and health Issues.
In addition, a key discovery made
at the Sainsbury Laboratory,
RNA interference, has led to a
completely new class of drug
for human healthcare, recently
approved by both the Food and
Drug Administration in the United
States, and the NHS in the UK.

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