Tenth ICRISAT CEG Course

Participants trained: 30 from 15 countries namely, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Egypt, Philippines, Brazil and India.

The ICRISAT ‘s Center of Excellence in Genomics (CEG) hosted its Ninth training course on “Modern genomics for crop improvement” during 22 July – 9 August, 2013 at ICRISAT Campus, Patancheru, under ICRISAT-CEG Phase II. Thirty participants from 15 countries namely, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Egypt, Philippines, Brazil and India. It is jointly sponsored by ICRISAT for its partners in the CGIAR Research Program on DrylandCereals and CGIAR Research Program on GrainLegumes, and by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India for NARS partners from India. The participants learnt more about the advance methodologies of molecular plant breeding and its applications, rather generating the data. The participants were exposed to DArT/SSR markers, linkage and QTL mapping, association mapping and its applications in crop improvement, introduction and application of genomic selection and its applications, NGS technologies, bioinformatics tools in crop improvement etc. Welcoming the course participants CLL Gowda emphasized the role of molecular breeding as one of the tools for crop improvement. CLL Gowda mentioned though there are several modern tools, it is the plant breeders who is the behind of molecular biologists to implement the tools successfully.

Rajeev Varshney, the course coordinator congratulated the participants on selection to this course and explained why the ICRISAT-CEG is organizing such type of courses. He informed the participants though the country made some progress in some pulse crops in use of molecular markers in crop improvement but lot more need to be done in the coming days keeping the challenges that agricultural research community would face in the coming years. He said that cost and infrastructure are two major constraints that are inhibiting most of the developing countries to have access to the technology. To serve the national partners to have access this technology through capacity building and the genotyping services, ICRISAT established the Center of Excellence of Genomics supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. This is the first training of under the second phase of Department of Biotechnology funded Project for organizing this training course. Rajeev Varshney informed the participants that learning is a continuous and evolutionary process and requested the participants institute also can impart the knowledge from the participants.

Reading out the Message of the Director General, Willam D. Dar, Gowda described the major challenges that agricultural community would face in the coming day as DG mentioned “Modern genomics for greater crop productivity and nutritional security”. Today, about 70% of the food-insecure population lives in developing countries, mostly as small-scale and subsistence farmers. To achieve global food security, the development of crop varieties that produce high yields in harsh climatic conditions will be a key strategy,” said Director General William Dar, inaugurating the 10th course on “Modern genomics for crop improvement” being held at the ICRISAT headquarters from 22 July to 9 August.

“Plant breeders can apply genomics tools for developing superior varieties in order to ensure increase in productivity and nutritional and food security,” added Dr Dar, underlining the importance of capacity building in modern genomic tools.

Welcoming the participants, Acting Deputy Director General for Research, Dr CLL Gowda, said, “Our success will be measured by the success of our partners. Therefore, it is important to empower our partners in modern science tools.”

Dr Stefania Grando, Research Program Director – Dryland Cereals, highlighted the importance of the training course and underlined how modern genomics tools need to be part of national crop breeding programs.

Course coordinator and Director, Centre of Excellence in Genomics, Dr Rajeev Varshney, introduced the course: “This training course will not train participants in data generation, instead, it will offer hands-on-training in data analysis for leading modern genomics and breeding approaches, namely marker-assisted backcrossing, marker-assisted recurrent selection, genomic selection, genotyping-by-sequencing and genome-wide association studies.”

The course is being attended by 30 participants from 15 countries namely, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Egypt, Philippines, Brazil and India. It is jointly sponsored by ICRISAT for its partners in the CGIAR Research Program on DrylandCereals and CGIAR Research Program on GrainLegumes, and by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India for NARS partners from India.