Liaison(s): Brad White, Edward Cargill
The Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based tools and agricultural products which improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto is dedicated to agriculture with products in three key areas: agricultural and vegetable seeds, plant biotechnology traits, and crop protection chemicals. Through agricultural innovation, Monsanto is committed to meeting the world’s growing food needs, conserving natural resources, and protecting the environment. Monsanto utilizes genetic analysis extensively to augment the company’s traditional breeding programs and to speed the development of its biotechnology trait pipeline. In support of these activities, Monsanto continually seeks to improve its methods by rapidly sampling tissues from seeds and plants with minimal damage to the sample source. Currently, Monsanto is looking to extend its time-, labor-, and space-saving non-destructive seed sampling technology from row crops to new plant species. The Monsanto TMP team was assembled to demonstrate the proof-of-concept for non-destructive tissue micro sampling methods amenable to high-throughput automation and genetic analysis. During the fall semester, the team identified several promising minimally destructive sampling methods. Multiple iterations of refinement have yielded sampling methods that impair germination in fewer than 10% of the seeds for three high-value crops. The Monsanto TMP team has developed and characterized protocols for each of these species with validated germination rates and sample nucleic acid content.