Data Drives Faster Innovation, Bigger Advancements
Whether it’s weighing customer reviews with prices at a restaurant or picking the best route to drive to the grocery store or even something as simple as deciding between two meals, data drives decisions in everyday life. And data, along with more access to it, is changing the game of vegetable breeding.
Breakthrough technologies take considerable time, effort and resources. Syngenta invests millions of dollars annually in vegetable seeds research and development. The investment leads to better data utilization, optimized breeding processes and trait integration, improved greenhouse and in-field testing to ensure every seed that hits a grower’s doorstep is of the utmost quality.
And data, moreover data science, is accelerating the pace of innovation to an astounding degree.
“Data-driven decisions give us the opportunity to continuously improve our research and development processes and operations, which accelerates product development and commercialization,” says Jesus Abad, Syngenta Head of Germplasm Development for cucurbit crops.
“This faster and better decision making is an integral part of our decision science strategy at Syngenta, and it’s enabled by data analytics and other tools,” the Syngenta Science Fellow continued.
Developing and Advancing Germplasms’ Potential
Each year, breeders wade through millions of genetic combinations to research. While hundreds of thousands are given deeper looks, even greenhouse testing has limitations, this data can help scientist focus on the plants with the best potential to invest time and effort into.
“We can’t test all possible genetic combinations in the field, but we can model them to predict their performance, and select those that best match our targeted product profiles,” says Eleni Bachlava, Syngenta Head of Applied Genetics for Vegetables & Flowers. “Predictive breeding allows us to bring better products faster to market with more efficient use of resources.”
It starts early in the development process, too, years before commercialization and field testing. These critical plant selections are facilitated by decision tools and diverse datasets, such as known phenotypes, genotypes, pedigrees, and environmental data.
The proof is in products available today. In less time, breeders created brussel sprouts that yield higher, provided Xanthomonas resistance in cabbage, boosted yields in sweet peppers, established better quality and higher yielding cucumbers and much more. The possibilities for every vegetable, fruit, field, and ornamental crop are endless because Syngenta's ability to leverage data is getting better each year.
Optimizing Products at the Field or Greenhouse Level
Research efficiency means better products make their way to the growers faster. Data integration in trialing creates more accurate results for growers and consumers with localized considerations to help maximize every field’s output.
Data optimization to find the most relevant and reliable products during trialing takes into account:
...and more! There is no single factor that tells breeders and researchers what product to move forward, or where it will be best suited. By taking a large number of factors into account, they can more accurately understand the varieties and varietal placement around the world.
“We rely on decision science tools that use advanced analytical workflows to bring together these diverse data layers,” Martina Gunnemann, Syngenta Head of Germplasm Development for leafy and brassica crops, explains. “With that information on-hand, teams can identify locations and growing seasons with similar environmental conditions and make data-driven decision to optimize product placement globally.”
Ultimately data-driven processes mean products will be catered to their environment and end use, providing growers the best options for their fields and greenhouses.