ICRISAT’s CEGSB conducts two-week training in next generation genomics for PJTSAU scientists
To accelerate crop improvement in Telangana, ICRISAT’s Center of Excellence in Genomics and Systems Biology (CEGSB) trained a group of young scientists from the State’s Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) on next-generation genomics approaches.
Advocating adoption of latest genomics technologies, Dr V Praveen Rao, Vice-Chancellor, PJTSAU, said, “It is time we trained our young scientists in the latest genomics and molecular breeding approaches, for they will be the torchbearers for advancing crop improvement program in State.”
CEGSB and PJTSAU organized the training at ICRISAT during 6-17 May, 2019. The program, partially supported by the CRP Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC) and CGIAR Platform on Excellence in Breeding, is the 14th course organized by CEGSB in its endeavor to build capacity in modern genomics and molecular breeding across institutions.
In his inaugural address, Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, ICRISAT, said ICRISAT is working to put modern approaches into breeding programs. “It is exciting to see so many young scientists, especially women, from the state agriculture university keen to learn and adopt new technologies in their breeding programs. It is a win-win situation for both ICRISAT and PJTSAU.”
During the training program, a one-day international workshop ‘Genomic Selection for Crop Improvement’, was held on 15 May. The workshop brought renowned scientists including Professor Wallace Cowling from The University of Western Australia; Professor John Hickey of The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh (UK); Professor Ben Hayes and Professor Lee Hickey from The University of Queensland (Australia) to talk about advances in methodologies, optimization of models and applications of genomic selection from examples of different crops, livestock and poultry.
Participants also learnt of Speed Breeding, a technology that can help reduce the time taken to produce new varieties by achieving up to 6 generations per year instead of 2–3 under normal glasshouse conditions. Other scientists including Professor PK Gupta, CCS University, Meerut; Dr RM Sundaram, ICAR-Indian Institute of Rice Research; Dr T Nepolean, ICAR- Indian Institute of Millets Research; Dr CV Sameer Kumar, RARS, Palem, Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University and Dr Vikas Singh from International Rice Research Institute’s India office also delivered talks.
The two-week course was organized by staff from themes/units – Genomics & Trait Discovery; Forward Breeding, Sequencing and Informatics Services; Statistics, and Bioinformatics and Data Management; with contributions from the themes Crop Improvement and Systems Analysis for Climate Smart Agriculture.
“We feel happy to train next-generation scientists on latest technologies that will help translate genomic information into molecular breeding products in the shortest time and to benefit farmers and develop agriculture in Telangana,” said Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director, Genetic Gains and Director, CEGSB.