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MGRC agreement signing

JIC Director Prof Dale Sanders and Dr Jonathan Clarke, Head of Business Development, signing the formal collaboration agreement.


UK and Malaysian scientists to collaborate on plant and microbial research

23rd February 2011

The John Innes Centre, as part of its commitment to international outreach, has signed a formal collaboration agreement through its trading subsidiary John Innes Enterprise Limited with the Malaysian Genomics Resource Centre Berhad (MGRC). The objective is for the organisations to work together in the field of functional genomics and for Malaysian scientists to have increased interaction with the world-class scientific research in plant and microbial research undertaken by the John Innes Centre (JIC).

“We hope the collaboration will benefit Malaysian agriculture by increasing access to plant and microbial science for tropical crop improvement,” said JIC director Professor Dale Sanders.

“Joint research will also help the country realise the potential of its biodiversity by identifying natural products that could be used in the bioactives sector.”

“For the John Innes Centre the collaboration will help us establish links with Malaysian organisations that may wish to utilise our experience in the application of leading edge science to tackle important challenges facing the Malaysian economy and society.”

A key priority at the John Innes Centre is to ensure that the knowledge generated by its scientists can benefit society and the environment through research, knowledge exchange, commercialisation and training. John Innes Enterprises offers commercial access to a range of technical services at JIC, including crop plant transformation, mutation detection in crops and natural product technology.

The agreement will provide more direct access to JIC’s expertise in disease resistance, plant genetics and natural products. Many plant and microbial compounds have biological activity that can be used in the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals, novel foods and as active ingredients for industrial biotechnology.

The agricultural and bio-actives sectors are important to the rapidly growing economy in Malaysia. As part of Malaysia's Economic Transformation Programme, the government has set a target of doubling its national income from agriculture from USD7.5 billion in 2009 to USD16.6 billion by 2020.

"We are pleased to be involved in this significant collaboration with JIC, a world-renowned plant and microbial science centre,” said MGRC managing director Robert Hercus.

“MGRC’s collaboration with JIC will provide Malaysian scientists with easy access to JIC’s expertise and extensive knowledge applicable to plants and microbes. Together we will be able to help Malaysian scientists accelerate their journey of discovery.”

Malaysia’s rich biodiversity also holds a treasure of unexplored potential applications for use in agriculture, plantations, aquaculture and healthcare industries. MGRC will continue to work with Malaysian researchers in their quest to better understand plants, microbes and unexplored organisms through sequencing and the subsequent analysis of genetic data.”


JIC Press Office
Zoe Dunford, Tel: 01603 255111, email:
Andrew Chapple, Tel: 01603 251490, email:

Notes to Editors

About the John Innes Centre
The John Innes Centre, , an institute of the BBSRC, is a  world-leading research centre based on Norwich Research Park in south east England. Its mission is to generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research, to train scientists for the future, and to apply its knowledge to benefit agriculture, human health and well-being, and the environment. JIC delivers world class bioscience outcomes leading to wealth and job creation, and generating high returns for the UK and world economy.

About MGRC
MGRC is a public limited company and one of Asia's leading providers of bioinformatics and genomics services. MGRC’s services and pipelines are designed to rapidly sequence and analyse large volumes of genetic data and extract meaningful biological information for downstream research and development.