22) ICRISAT scientist receives top honor from Crop Science Society of America

Hyderabad, India (28 November 2013) – Dr Hari D Upadhyaya, Principal Scientist (Groundnut) and Head of Genebank at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in Hyderabad, India, received the most prestigious Crop Science Research Award from the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) during its annual meeting at Tampa, Florida, USA on 6 November 2013.

ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar congratulating Dr Hari D Upadhyaya at the ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru, Hyderabad, India.

He was conferred the award for his significant and original basic and applied research contributions in crop science, excellence in creative reasoning and skills, and total impact of contributions on crop science, nationally and internationally.

Dr Upadhyaya is a practical plant breeder and has developed a large number of early-maturing, high-yielding, drought tolerant, and diseases and aflatoxin contamination resistant groundnut breeding lines. Several of these lines had desirable combination of traits that are useful to the farmers and have been released as cultivars in countries of Asia, Africa and Oceania, where these are cultivated in large areas benefiting farmers immensely. His work on germplasm is known globally.

He postulated “mini core” (1% of entire collection) concept which is now an International Public Good and has captured the imagination of scientists around the world as a gateway to exploit genetic diversity in the large germplasm collections. Dr Upadhyaya and scientists from the National Agricultural Research Systems have used mini core collections to identify trait specific, genetically diverse, and agronomically superior parental lines in the ICRISAT mandate crops (chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, sorghum, and pearl millet) and finger and foxtail millets for use by the plant breeders. This has resulted in greater use of germplasm in developing high-yielding broad-based cultivars.

This contribution of Dr Upadhyaya is singularly responsible for promoting the understanding that germplasm collections are tools to enhance and stabilize productivity, rather than mere collections.

Some of the stalwarts in crop science whom Dr Upadhyaya admires and have been awarded Crop Science Research Award include George F Sprague (in 1957), Robert W Allard (1964), Jack R Harlan (1971), Charles O Gardner (1978), Arnel R Hallauer (1981), Ronald N Phillips (1988), Kenneth J Frey (1993), and Steve A Eberhart (1994).  

Congratulating him for the achievement, ICRISAT Director General William D Dar said, “You have not only brought honor to yourself but also to ICRISAT. We are proud of you. This recognition is a testament to your solid science achievements.”

Dr MS Swaminathan, father of the Green Revolution in India, sent a congratulatory message to Dr Upadhyaya which read, “I congratulate you on this very prestigious award. It represents a well-deserved appreciation of your monumental scientific contributions.”

CSSA is an international scientific society comprised of 6,000+ members with its headquarters in Madison, WI, USA. It advances the discipline of crop science and fosters the transfer of knowledge on breeding and genetics; crop physiology; crop ecology; seed physiology; genomics, molecular genetics, and biotechnology; and biomedical plants, among others.


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