Researchers effectively use their results in business. Born in Skoltech and founded by the authors of the study, the company OilGene supports the agricultural sector through genetic technologies.
“Our collaborative results with Pustovoit All-Russian Research Institute of Oil Crops will be the core for developing new solutions to accelerate the sunflower breeding. They will reduce financial and time costs for creating its new varieties and hybrids. On the one hand, our markers will help develop a rapid DNA test for identifying the high oleic trait in sunflowers directly in the field. On the other hand, these markers can be included in the NGS-panel to determine the quality of sunflower oil by a number of characteristics — similar to panels used for diagnosing human’s genetic diseases. We are planning to commercialize our results in the OilGene startup set up in Skoltech,” Chernova concludes.
The OilGene company is searching for genetic markers of agriculturally important traits of cultivated plants, develops approaches for accelerated breeding, provides genetic and bioinformatic support for breeding processes and pioneers genomic selection approaches. To that end, it uses next-generation sequencing technology and high-performance genotyping. The team has competencies in plant genetics, marker-assisted breeding, phytopathology, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. As part of their previous projects, the team found genetic markers of useful agricultural traits for accelerated breeding of sunflower, rapeseed, and soybeans, as well as developed test systems to determine the hybridity of soybeans resistance of sunflower to contagion. The target market of OilGene is breeding companies and agricultural holdings.