Participants at mini-symposium of University of Leeds and ICRISAT. Photo: ICRISAT.
14
Apr

Strengthening research collaboration with UK

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Participants at mini-symposium of University of Leeds and ICRISAT. Photo: ICRISAT.

Participants at mini-symposium of University of Leeds and ICRISAT. Photo: ICRISAT.

Researchers from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, and ICRISAT-India pledged to pool resources and share knowledge in order to achieve accelerated results that will benefit smallholder farmers across the world.

At a two-day mini-symposium, talks and discussions focused on this cooperation ranging across different themes of ICRISAT’s research programs.

The key areas discussed were:

  1. To explore, develop and work on collaborative research projects for transforming research results into higher genetic gains in the farmers’ field, and to help the global farming community at scale. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Transformation of legumes for genes controlling vacuole structure in pigeonpea;
    • Development of protoplasts for legumes and discovery of a good protocol for transgene expression of legumes protoplast for gene knockouts;
    • Utilization of ICRISAT’s mini core population for phosphate responses and linking to the field testing system;
    • Characterization of symbionts using ICRISAT’s high throughput phenotyping facility and understanding symbiosis in legumes;
    • Work on CO2 and symbiosis; take it from the lab to the field;
    • Study of physiological models: how changing environment effects physiological trait characterization;
    • Work on signaling between symbionts, plant and host, and its controlling mechanism; also the possibility of its manipulation for crop improvement;
    • Study of root nodulation in peanut; how it is different from the same in other legumes in terms of enzymatic, structural, genome-level, expression-level (transcriptome) and protein variations. Study of root angle development and Arabidopsis in sorghum; and
    • Understanding the biology of the geotropism and skotomorphogenesis in groundnut crop; how this understanding can help improve yield.
  2. To jointly work on high-quality publications from collaborative research that would benefit the global scientific community.
  3. To support exchange visits of scientists, research scholars and students for knowledge sharing between ICRISAT and the University of Leeds.

Dr Alison Baker, Professor at School of Molecular and Cellular Biology, who led the delegation from University of Leeds, said, “I am glad to note that the expertise at ICRISAT is highly complementary and it would definitely be helpful for University of Leeds to work together with ICRISAT for the benefit of science and farmers.”

Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director, Genetic Gains, said that this collaboration would strengthen the research activities at both institutions. It would help accelerate the rate of transformation of research results for the benefit of smallholder farmers and for the global scientific community in generation and sharing of knowledge resources.

The mini-symposium was hosted by ICRISAT-India on 5-6 April and was attended by 35 participants including 5 delegates from the University of Leeds and 2 observers from the British Deputy High Commission, Hyderabad.

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