CenGen - Plant & Pathogen Genomic Services

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN ANNOUNCEMENT

The CenGen laboratory has re-opened on 11 May with strict health and sanitary regulations in place in accordance with the national level 4 lockdown requirements. We are able to receive samples strictly on appointment basis only. For any queries, please contact the lab at 023 342 5994, or Renée Prins at cengen@cengen.co.za. Our office hours during this period are 08:00 – 16:30, Monday to Friday.

We wish all of our colleagues, clients and collaborators calmness and good health during these trying times.


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
  • 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

From Cape Town to Queensland: SA Wheat Voyages Down Under

From Cape Town to Queensland: SA Wheat Voyages Down Under

Another milestone was reached this month in our mission to explore Fusarium Crown Rot (FCR) resistance in wheat. The South African doubled haploid population used in this study was sent to our Australian collaborators late in 2018. After some time spent in quarantine, the population was released and has made it to the field. The… Read More »

Cold fronts and quarantine? The field work must go on!

Cold fronts and quarantine? The field work must go on!

Last year, we at CenGen were excited to announce the planting of the first field trial for our research project exploring the genetics behind Fusarium Crown Rot (FCR) resistance in wheat.  By combining disease scoring information (resulting from the 2019 trial) with high throughput genotyping data we were able to gain some preliminary information about… Read More »

Data Carpentry course and (re)connecting with collaborators

Data Carpentry course and (re)connecting with collaborators

In early March, Kelly Breeds (CenGen Barley Research Lead) attended a Data Carpentry course at the Earlham Institute (EI), where she benefitted from the tutelage of Dr Robert Davey and other members of EI’s Data Infrastructure and Algorithms Group. Topics covered during the course included data organisation in spreadsheets, data cleaning in OpenRefine, data analysis… Read More »

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From 24-28 February 2020, CenGen and Stellenbosch University had the privilege of welcoming three expert trainers from the UK and colleagues from across a range of South African research institutions for the third Bioinformatics and Wheat Genomics Workshop held at the Stellenbosch University Ukwanda campus in Worcester. This course, building on the success of the… Read More »

Seeds by the thousands

Seeds by the thousands

Kelly Breeds and Mignon de Jager recently visited SABBI to prepare for the barley field trials taking place in Greytown later in the year. As part of a Winter Cereal Trust funded project (WCT/B/2018/02), two mapping populations have been developed using accessions that provide resistance against stem rust, but do not carry the well-known Rpg1… Read More »

Dr Xolelwa Zulu joins the CenGen team as an Independent Director

Dr Xolelwa Zulu joins the CenGen team as an Independent Director

CenGen is extremely privileged to announce that Dr Xolelwa Zulu has been appointed as Independent Director of the company as from the 9th of December 2019. Dr Prins was first introduced to Xolelwa on a scientific tour to the UK, hosted by the British High Commission and Agbiz Grain. At the time, Xolelwa was the… Read More »

Kicking 2020 off with project meetings with breeders

Kicking 2020 off with project meetings with breeders

On 20 January, Marizanne Horn and Elsabet Wessels undertook the trek to Bethlehem, Free State, for project meetings with colleagues at the local Sensako breeding station.  Marizanne, an employee of Sensako and industry placement at CenGen, met with Roean Wessels, Sensako’s sunflower breeder. Elsabet, who is responsible for the wheat MAS programme at CenGen, met… Read More »

Genetics for the kids

Genetics for the kids

In an exciting new venture at CenGen, we are exploring the possibility of getting involved with science education in collaboration with the Cape Winelands Education District (CWED). Brian Wilson (Dr) and Edgar Johannes from the CWED visited us on Wednesday, 18 December, to discuss how CenGen can contribute to creating awareness among primary and high… Read More »

UK and SA experts build CenGen’s first bioinformatics computer

UK and SA experts build CenGen’s first bioinformatics computer

Ending off the year with a BLAST, CenGen just took the next step to integrate bioinformatics into their workflow through the installation of their first dedicated Bioinformatics server. This was achieved with the assistance of the consulting firm of Dr Tjelvar Olsson and Mr Jan Marais (iMotion). Upon recognising the dire need for South African… Read More »