13) ICRISAT and DBT to establish new facility for agri- biotechnology research

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is collaborating with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, to establish a DBT-ICRISAT Platform for Translational Research on Transgenic Crops (PTTC) at ICRISAT’s global headquarters at Patancheru, near Hyderabad in India.

The proposed project was recently approved by the DBT. The approval comes with a funding commitment of Rs 248.79 million (US$ 6.25 million) for five years (2008-2013).

According to the Director General of ICRISAT, Dr William Dar, the PTTC will strengthen transgenic research for crop improvement by providing a platform, building synergies among institutions. ICRISAT will continue to harness transgenic research to solve problems that cannot be solved through conventional breeding.

The mission of PTTC will be to “translate transgenic technology and harness its products to meet the needs of agricultural growth”. Transgenic technology, also known as genetic modification or engineering, involves the import of genes from another organism to improve the resistance to disease or pest, or to improve productivity in agricultural crops.

The aim of establishing PTTC is to facilitate a coordinated approach for the translation of existing genetic engineering technologies in developing transgenic crop varieties for product development and commercialization. Under this, priority crops and constraints will be identified and a well-coordinated approach set in place.

PTTC will evaluate and advance the potential of new genetic engineering options to enhance agricultural productivity. PTTC will also provide expertise and facilities for the production and assessment of transgenic crop plants developed through collaborative projects.

This platform will serve as a facility of reference to strengthen national, regional and international linkages and collaboration in transgenic research and development, exchange of materials and information, as well as support training, consultation and technology commercialization. This platform is expected to generate research products that are national and international public goods.

For further information, contact Dr Kiran K Sharma at .

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