(L) Dr Rajeev K Varshney, Research Program Director-Accelerated Crop Improvement, ICRISAT, delivering plenary lecture at the International Symposium; (R) Team members (From left, Dr Dorin Gupta, Dr Surinder Singh Chauhan and other team members) from The University of Melbourne.
09
Jul

Genomics will increasingly play a key role in crop breeding programs

University of Melbourne India Engagement Seed Grant International Symposium 2021.

(L) Dr Rajeev K Varshney, Research Program Director-Accelerated Crop Improvement, ICRISAT, delivering plenary lecture at the International Symposium; (R) Team members (From left, Dr Dorin Gupta, Dr Surinder Singh Chauhan and other team members) from The University of Melbourne. Photo: University of Melbourne

(L) Dr Rajeev K Varshney, Research Program Director-Accelerated Crop Improvement, ICRISAT, delivering plenary lecture at the International Symposium; (R) Team members (From left, Dr Dorin Gupta, Dr Surinder Singh Chauhan and other team members) from The University of Melbourne. Photo: University of Melbourne

Along with advanced genomics-assisted breeding technology, development of better crop varieties need attention on other aspects such as better crop management and agronomic practices on the farm, market access to farmers, conducive policies and support from local, national and international agencies. This message was delivered by Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director – Accelerated Crop Improvement, ICRISAT during the plenary talk at The University of Melbourne India Engagement Seed Grant (IESG) 2020 – International Symposium.

“Genomics intervention has significantly enhanced the precision and efficiency of crop improvement programs. From the time Genomics-Assisted Breeding (GAB) was introduced in 2005, to now, adoption of GAB has delivered improved cultivars of several crops including rice, wheat, pearl millet, barley, soybean, groundnut, chickpea, maize etc., that are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses,” said Dr Varshney.

“Going forward, advanced ‘GAB 2.0’ approaches like haplotype-based breeding and genomic selection, along with rapid generation advancement, are expected to accelerate varietal development process even further. However, to realize the full potential of all this, better agronomic practices, market access, support of international, national and local government agencies and conducive policy environment will be key,” he added.

The symposium, focused on Sustainable intensification of Integrated Crop-Livestock (ICL) farming system for enhancing productivity and improving smallholder livelihoods, was held during 24-25 June 2021.

“This symposium aims to strengthening India-Australia collaborations in agricultural research to promote integrated crop-livestock farming system for enhancing productivity and improving livelihoods of smallholder farmers”, said Dr Dorin Gupta, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science, University of Melbourne, who co-convened the symposium with Dr Surinder Chauhan.

“Australia, and in particular, the University of Melbourne, is very keen on increasing engagement in education, research collaborations, knowledge exchange and building bridges between the peoples of Australia and India,” said Dr Surinder Chauhan. He mentioned that the symposium was a unique platform where Indian and Australian crop and animal scientists exchanged ideas and identified key areas of common interest for potential joint research projects to implement sustainable and environmentally robust integrated-crop livestock farming system for enhancing productivity and improving smallholder livelihoods.

The other key organizations that participated in the event include the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Government of India; ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute; ICAR-National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology; Bihar Animal Sciences University; National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resource, India; Indian Grassland and Fodder Research Institute; International Livestock Research Institute; Harper Adams University, UK; and University of New England, Australia.

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