Brussels, 08 Jul 2005
The University of Birmingham is to work with public and private sector researchers from England and Scotland in order to carry out a study on barley genes with the hope of improving beer and whisky production.
Nearly every barley grower in the UK will take part in the study, the focus of which will be on increasing yield while boosting disease and pest resistance.
'We will be using experimental techniques that have been developed in human and other plant genetic studies to analyse a crop that has huge economic importance,' said Robbie Waugh from the Scottish Crop Research Institute. We expect to be able to identify the genes that could lead to improvements in the quality of barley that will be of interest to growers, producers and drinkers.'
The university received a grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to participate in the project, while other funding will come from the Scottish executive, the UK government and industrial partners.
The research is expected to make a significant contribution to the Scottish agricultural economy. Half of Scotland's arable land is used to grow barley, and most of this is used to make beer and whisky.