Dr Renée Prins established CenGen (Pty) Ltd in 2003 in the town of Worcester in the Breede River Valley of the Western Cape, South Africa, to create a plant genetics platform. At the same time it created the opportunity for skilled personnel to continue their scientific careers, despite being based far from major academic centra.
A primary focus at CenGen is to provide services on par with international standard. Therefore an effort is made to visit international conferences and laboratories on a regular basis and to maintain strong links with international peers and collaborators. The Research and Development outputs of CenGen are testimony to this goal.
One of the most exciting endeavours CenGen is currently undertaking is an attempt to clone a wheat disease resistance gene in collaboration with an expert team at the University of Zürich, Switzerland. Should the project be successful, this will be the first result of its kind in South Africa for wheat, which has a very complex genome. Apart from the value of having the actual gene sequence, the knowledge transfer to South African scientists will be invaluable.
Dr Renée Prins: Biography
Renée Prins obtained a PhD in Genetics from Stellenbosch University. Because of her plant genetics and -breeding background, she has a key interest in working with plant and pathogen species that are important to agriculture. Besides focussing on the implementation of research outputs, Renée is still actively involved in training post-graduate students based either at the CenGen site or off-site at other South African universities. She is a research fellow in the department of Plant Sciences of the University of Free State and, although she is not a full-time academic, also an NRF-rated scientist. In her research projects she actively strives to develop and apply tools much needed by the plant breeding community.