Molecular markers for rapid crop improvement

“New science tools such as molecular markers will be very useful to accelerate crop productivity,” said Director General William Dar at the inaugural session of the 8th ICRISAT-CEG course on Application of Molecular Markers in Crop Improvement, which started on 8 November at Patancheru.

Dr Dar said that gains from conventional plant breeding cannot meet future food demands and that there was a need for a major change in yield improvement. “ICRISAT firmly believes in the potential of biotechnology to enhance the speed, precision, efficiency and value addition of its crop improvement efforts, especially in addressing complex traits that have remained intransigent to conventional breeding,” he added.

The Director General said that genomics has been providing breeders with new tools and novel approaches to perform their tasks with precision such as applications of molecular markers in breeding through marker-assisted selection (MAS).

A total of forty participants including 21 from India and 19 participants from 12 Asian/African countries are participating in this 2 week interactive training course.

Participants of the molecular markers course at Patancheru.

GTL-Biotechnology, Oscar Riera-Lizarazu welcomed the gathering and urged the participants to exploit this training to the maximum and learn as much as possible from this course.

Course Coordinator Rajeev Varshney gave a brief outline of the course and emphasized the importance of such capacity building exercises. Rex Navarro, Global Leader (Acting), Knowledge Management and Sharing, outlined the activities of KMS and the importance of knowledge management and sharing.

Rajeev Varshney thanked the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the Generation Challenge Programme for financial support towards organization of the course. He expressed his gratitude to Dr Dar, DDG-R Dave Hoisington, the Management Group and senior colleagues for their support for successfully conducting eight such courses over the last three years.

With the completion of this course, ICRISAT will have successfully imparted training on application of molecular markers in crop improvement to 200 participants representing 25 ICAR institutes, 5 Government of India and CSIR institutes, 32 state agricultural universities, 11 regional research stations, 11 small seed companies, 32 research foundations, research institutes and institutes from Asian/southern African countries. The total training covered 25 crops and had representation from 24 Asian/African countries.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings