New genomics and breeding tools for food security ICRISAT hosts workshop on next generation genomics for crop improvement

Participants of the 3rd International Workshop on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Data Analysis and Modern Breeding Approaches held at ICRISAT-Patancheru.

With an unprecedented global demand for higher yields within sustainable production systems, advances in genomics for enhanced breeding efficiency are now shaping modern crop improvement towards long-term food security.

New tools of modern breeding like the next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies for modern crop improvement are crucial in speeding up the development of improved varieties that can provide high yields and improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers,” said Director General William Dar in his inaugural remarks at the 3rd International Workshop on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Data Analysis and Modern Breeding Approaches held on 27-31 August at ICRISAT-Patancheru.

Dr Dar also thanked CGIAR’s Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) and collaborators from several advanced research institutes (ARIs) that helped ICRISAT take the lead in developing and using NGS tools in its genomics and breeding program. The workshop brought together 45 participants from Australia, France, Germany, India, Philippines, Mexico, UK and USA, as well as representatives from IRRI and CIMMYT. It built on two earlier workshops as part of the GCP-sponsored project to develop tools for using NGS and high-throughput genotyping technologies in breeding through genome-wide selection (GWS) and marker-assisted recurrent selection (MARS).

In his welcome address, Vincent Vadez, Acting Program Director, RP-Dryland Cereals, highlighted the importance of genomics technologies and modern breeding approaches. “By identifying genes associated with desirable traits using next generation approaches, scientists hasten our response to feeding the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rajeev Varshney, Director of the Center of Excellence in Genomics (CEG), gave a brief overview of the project and workshop, stating that ICRISAT started using next generation genomics technologies about four years ago to assemble genome sequence and other genomic resources that have already been shared with its partners. “Next generation genomics approaches have ushered us into the modern breeding era,” said Dr Varshney. These approaches helped initiate molecular breeding in crops like chickpea and groundnut.

Emeritus Professor PK Gupta, Chair of the Accelerated Crop Improvement Programme of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT), delivered the inaugural lecture on “New Approaches in Crop Breeding”. He appreciated ICRISAT’s ongoing efforts in developing and sharing genomics and breeding tools with national partners. ICRISAT’s Abhishek Rathore, Sarwar Azam and Trushar Shah helped organize the workshop.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings