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World’s first industrial genomic selection program for insects launched

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Ÿnsect unveiled ŸNFABRE, the first industrial genomic selection program applying to mass insect farming. The ŸNFABRE project looks set to enable the creation of pioneering units that will both select and multiply high-performing, resilient insect breeds and help further the understanding of insect biology. 

The program is supported by a consortium of companies established in their field and a benchmark public laboratory. The CEA-Genoscope brings know-how in sequencing and genetics of mealworms to Ÿnsect's leadership in the processing and breeding of insects; APREX Solutions their digital imaging/video analysis tools powered by artificial intelligence; and Thermo Fisher Scientific their high-throughput sequencing and genotyping.

The program has received €4.34 million in funding, as part of the call for “Competitiveness Structuring Projects” as part of the State’s Investments for the Future Policy (IFP) being managed by BPI. It was fostered by the support of the French poultry and aquaculture breeder's union (SYSAAF) and received a twofold endorsement from the Vitagora competitiveness hub, and the Agri-Food Sector Strategic Committee. This program, a world first, enables real synergies for the dissemination and acceptance of emerging breakthroughs in the industry, within the scientific community, and among decision-makers and society generally.

“The ŸNFABRE project deepens our knowledge of insect genetics, especially that of mealworms, an alternative and sustainable source of food protein. It will contribute to the excellence of the French insect cultivation, spearheaded by Ÿnsect. We are very happy to be implementing this substantial support from the Investments for the Future Program,” said Ariane Voyatzakis, head of Agrifoods, and Michel Daigney, head of Chemicals and Environment within Bpifrance’s innovation department.

“The recognition and funding received by this project have been unprecedented and underlines the strategic importance of genetics in Ÿnsect’s development. With ŸNFABRE, we are taking part in a breakthrough approach to bring about new cutting-edge technologies and advance scientific knowledge of insects. ŸNFABRE is also a major and structural program that has the potential to help strengthen France and Ÿnsect’s leadership in insect breeding even as global competition is intensifying,” Ÿnsect’s CEO, Antoine Hubert, added.

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