Australian horticulture sector to collaborate with ICRISAT in genomics research

Senior ICRISAT staff and officials of the HIA at the MoU signing. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

The Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) and ICRISAT, have joined hands to undertake joint research and development (R&D) in plant genomics. This will allow researchers from ICRISAT and Australian agencies to work in frontier areas of genomic sciences. The collaboration will also open up opportunities for young students to get overseas exposure and experience. “HIA is excited about this collaboration with ICRISAT in the area of modern genome science including sequencing, genotyping and functional genomics, that will help advance the horticulture industry in Australia and worldwide,” Mr David Cliffe, Director, HIA, said.

“India is advanced in its science in a number of crops. We are keen on going overseas for the R&D facilities and expertise not available in Australia. We see a strategic link in the genomics research area to start with. How we can do genomics for breeders/breeding is a challenge and we can work together on taking this from the lab,” Mr Cliffe added.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between HIA and ICRISAT at the ICRISAT headquarters on 2 December. Both ICRISAT and HIA have also committed to explore other areas of research in a number of horticultural crops. “We are excited that through this collaboration with HIA, ICRISAT and Australia will be doing not only high-quality but also high-impact research that is expected to reach and benefit millions of farmers and consumers globally,” said Dr Dar of the agreement.

Dr Rajeev Varshney, Director of ICRISAT’s Center of Excellence in Genomics and the Research Program on Grain Legumes said: “We have completed the genome sequencing of reference genomes of leading legume crops such as chickpea and pigeonpea, having sequenced the genomes of more than 1,000 lines of these legumes. We are very keen to work with HIA to accelerate their efforts in the area of genome sequencing and analysis.”

Dr Alok Kumar from HIA, who negotiated for the research partnership between ICRISAT and HIA, stated that the application of genomic tools has tremendous potential in reducing the breeding cycle in horticultural crops for the benefit of the Australian industries.

Dr David Moore, General Manager, HIA and several researchers from the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; the University of Queensland; and the Queensland University of Agriculture & Technology (QUT) are visiting India as part of the HIA-led delegation.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings