Vegetable breeding company Rik Zwaan and technology alliance STW have started a programme to research into meiosis, the cell division process in plant propagation. Each will invest one and a half million euros into this five-year programme.
The programme seems to be tailor-made for Professor Hans de Jong, personal chair in the Laboratory of Genetics, as he has conducted research into meiosis together with Rik Zwaan. 'We have a head-start because of what we already know', says De Jong, 'but we are still just one of the applicants'. Meiosis enables the characteristics of both parents to be combined; it is a complex process and one which still has many grey areas.
STW hopes to stimulate effective cooperation between the Dutch academic world and the business sector with its programmes. Universities are invited to submit research proposals which will be judged by Rik Zwaan personnel and experts from other countries.