CenGen - Plant & Pathogen Genomic Services

CenGen offers various genomics-related services to plant breeders, producers and agricultural-related industries. The focus is to implement and utilise high-throughput molecular technologies in various applications involving crop and horticultural plants as well as fungi (e.g. wheat, barley, maize, grapevine, citrus, deciduous fruit- and nut trees, truffles and a range of plant pathogens).

We are flexible in terms of experimental layout and sample size and customise projects according to every client’s needs.

Applications Include:

  • Cultivar identity determinations and purity testing using DNA fingerprinting techniques
  • Agricultural pathogen detection
  • Confirmation of the presence or absence of specific genes to assist in selection of breeding lines (marker-assisted selection)
  • Confirmation of species’ identity (e.g. for truffle production)
  • CenGen is also engaged in Research and Development by means of our involvement in various academic research projects in which we develop many of the tools we apply to the benefit of the industry

Latest News, Events & Articles

What do you mean by sequencing and cloning?

What do you mean by sequencing and cloning?

In the light of our recent success story with the sequencing of the Kariega wheat genome which we in particular wanted to share with the younger generation, we reached out to Quest magazine to write a piece about the project. Quest is a South African popular science magazine aimed at the youth and anyone who… Read More »

Benchtop sequencing: A new era starts at CenGen!

Benchtop sequencing: A new era starts at CenGen!

CenGen has been fortunate to receive a brand new portable benchtop sequencer, the Oxford Nanopore MinION Mik1C, generously sponsored by the DIPLOMICS, AB-InBev and SABBI. In-house sequencing is new technology in our laboratory and it opens up a new world of potential projects. The MinION, which is about the size of a box of tissues,… Read More »

CenGen researcher visits scientific centre of excellence in Saudi Arabia

CenGen researcher visits scientific centre of excellence in Saudi Arabia

On the back of the sequencing of the South African wheat cultivar Kariega and the subsequent cloning of stripe rust resistance gene Yr27, Ms Shannon Derman, project lead at CenGen, is currently on a 10 week scientific visit at KAUST in Saudi Arabia. This incredible opportunity arose from our collaboration with Prof Simon Krattinger and… Read More »

A genome sequenced and a gene cloned – the Kariega success story!

A genome sequenced and a gene cloned – the Kariega success story!

Years of dedication, perseverance and careful scientific consideration has paid off: A disease resistance gene from a South African wheat cultivar has been cloned and CenGen is proud to announce our involvement with it. In collaboration with Prof Simon Krattinger’s group from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia (KAUST) and… Read More »

A South African wheat cultivar is making international headlines!

A South African wheat cultivar is making international headlines!

CenGen’s international collaboration with Prof Simon Krattinger’s team at KAUST University (Saudi Arabia) and Prof Willem Boshoff from The University of Free State has resulted in groundbreaking research. The publication will appear in Nature Genetics on 14 March 2022 at 16:00 (GMT) / 12:00 (EST). At that time the paper (DOI: 10.1038/s41588-022-01022-1) will be available… Read More »

New Senior Researcher to join the CenGen team

New Senior Researcher to join the CenGen team

We are very excited to announce that CenGen is expanding once again. Dr Helmien Barkhuizen-Roode will join our team in April 2022. Helmien graduated with a PhD in Wine Biotechnology from Stellenbosch University in 2019 and has since completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the South African Grape and Wine Research Institute (SAGWRI) at Stellenbosch University. Her experience… Read More »

Longstanding collaborations again deliver a successful rust season at Greytown

Longstanding collaborations again deliver a successful rust season at Greytown

CenGen is privileged to have collaborated with the well-known rust team of the University of Free State for many years. Without the expertise of a pathologist our rust screening would not be possible. Our longstanding collaborator, Prof Willem Boshoff (UFS) (and his predecessor, Prof Zak Pretorius), has years of experience that we can’t do without… Read More »

Working in the field? It’s a date!

Working in the field? It’s a date!

One reason why we love working in the agricultural industry is that we often get to work outside of the lab. We were recently contracted by Mr. Lionel Hugo from Kleinplasie (Hermon) to confirm the identity of his date palms. For this, we needed to sample hundreds of trees on his farm. In between the… Read More »

Going places with a new qPCR instrument

Going places with a new qPCR instrument

With funding generously supplied by AB InBev and SABBI, CenGen was fortunate to acquire a Magnetic Induction Cycler (Mic) real-time PCR instrument in the last quarter of 2021. Real-time PCR (qPCR) has often been in the news in the past two years since it is the most accurate method with which to test for COVID-infections.… Read More »