Illumina accepted as first partner organisation of DivSeek International Network

March 5, 2023

Photo credit: Illumina Inc.

Illumina, an American biotechnology company known best for producing genomic sequencing technology, has just become the first official partner organisation of DivSeek International Network.

Illumina technology has many applications across the life sciences. In recent decades, their integrated and desktop sequencing systems have become indispensable in the study of plant genetic resources (PGR), particularly in the area of crop genomics.

But alongside supplying the PGR community with sequencing tools, Illumina also actively supports research and collaboration in agricultural genomics.

“Genomics has the power to harness the potential of genetic diversity in domesticated crops and their wild relatives, ensuring sustainability and adaptability of global agricultural production,” explains Evegny Glazov, Market Development Manager in Applied Genomics at Illumina.

“We work with experts around the world to develop genomic tools that support translational research and advanced breeding applications such as genomics selection.”

Through the Illumina Agricultural Greater Good Initiative, the biotech giant awards in-kind contributions up to US$350,000 to scientists whose research increases the sustainability, productivity, and nutritional quality of the world’s food supply.

Beyond this, they also facilitate collaborations between breeders and researchers. Their agrigenomics consortia allow members to pool resources, share ideas, and may culminate in the development of custom products for crop species of interest.

The partnership between Illumina and DivSeek comes as welcome news to both parties. “The partnership is a natural fit that complements the strength and mission of both organizations,” says Glazov.

“We share the goal of increasing global awareness and understanding of biological diversity, and it makes sense for us to look for opportunities to advance this goal together.”

“DivSeek’s international reach and representation create a unique forum for discussing current and emerging challenges facing conservation, management, and traceability of plant genetic resources and identifying technological and other solutions to these challenges.”

In this flagship partnership arrangement, Illumina has agreed to support DivSeek’s mission by providing expertise (e.g. by contributing to the Genomics Working Group), assistance with funding applications, and philanthropic support for selected activities.

Excitingly, the partnership also means that Illumina may sponsor and potentially co-organise educational activities with DivSeek, like webinars, seminars, and workshops.

The first of these sponsored events will be the inaugural workshop of the DivSeek Regional Hub for Australasia, due to take place in March. “The Australasian Hub meeting is an opportunity to bring together regional experts of the DivSeek network, and we are thrilled to be part of it,” says Glazov.

“Brisbane is my hometown, and I’m looking forward to meeting and spending time with the broader DivSeek community here.”

Written by: Kiri Marker

Corresponding author: Evegny Glazov