BASF is to work with the VIB Department for Plant Systems Biology at Ghent University, Belgium, in a new joint project aimed at increasing crop yields.

Named TopYield, the project will explore and unravel the large molecular variability of plant growth under different conditions, including drought stress.

“This highly innovative and very exciting project will help us strengthen our efforts in developing first class yield traits,” said Jürgen Schweden senior vice president research and development, BASF Plant Science. “We see the improvement of yield imperative for sustainable agriculture.”

Plant scientists are able to identify single genes that have an impact on yield. BASF hope the new project will develop and validate new technology that understands the combined effect of gene networks on crop characteristics such as yield and drought tolerance.

The project will run for several years involving 20 full time researchers, making it the largest collaboration entered into by VIB in the field of plant biotechnology.