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

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 »

Telling our story locally and abroad

Telling our story locally and abroad

By Elsabet Wessels and Shannon Derman Dr Renée Prins was invited by Dr Diane Saunders and Prof Graham Moore from the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, to be the keynote speaker at their “UK Women in Wheat Mentoring Workshop” in June this year. We have been privileged in the past to work with Diane… Read More »

A second opportunity in June to promote Plant Genetics

A second opportunity in June to promote Plant Genetics

Raising awareness about genetics applications in agriculture is very important to our team. Shortly after our first teachers’ workshop, Dr Shane Murray, research specialist at CenGen, was invited to give a guest lecture to 27 students enrolled for an Advanced Diploma in Biotechnology at CPUT. With the topic The use of Molecular Markers in Plant… Read More »

Reaching out and drawing in: telling teachers about our trade

Reaching out and drawing in: telling teachers about our trade

Over the past few years, we’ve had many requests from learners for job shadowing at our laboratory. We did however notice that it was only learners from the same schools who contacted us, and we realised that more awareness about genetics as a career choice, specifically in agriculture, had to be created. With the help… Read More »

Benny and the jet(s)

Benny and the jet(s)

Doing repairs to the beat of Elton John When Benny Leriba joined the team in September last year he didn’t expect to do work other than molecular genetics. But, given COVID and the resulting flight restrictions it became necessary for us to “mechanic” our robotic instruments from LGC Biosearch Technologies – a UK based company… Read More »

A two week long quest to get the hang of Genomic Selection

A two week long quest to get the hang of Genomic Selection

Genomic selection (GS) is a genetics tool that involves selecting individuals in a breeding population (plants or animals) according to their entire genetic potential for a trait, rather than because of the presence of a specific gene associated with that trait. Since the early 2010s, this tool has been applied in plant breeding to improve… Read More »

DIPLOMICS provides opportunities to learn

DIPLOMICS provides opportunities to learn

CenGen was once again privileged to be the recipient of a training course from ThermoFisher Scientific, sponsored by DIPLOMICS. We have been part of the DIPLOMICS group of laboratories since 2018– a partnership which has proven to be truly beneficial. Apart from instrumentation, service contracts and training – all invaluable elements of a well-functioning laboratory… Read More »