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Conference on Trait Improvement of Rice through Emerging Technologies Held at KAU

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
rice farmer

A conference on trait improvement of rice through emerging technologies was held at the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU). The conference stressed on the need for effective growth and responsible use of new plant breeding technologies to reduce poverty and malnutrition and also to help improve income from farming.

The conference was jointly organised by the KAU & SciGenome Research Foundation and was inaugurated by Vice-Chancellor of KAU, R Chandra Babu.

Chandra Babu in his address said that the need to propagate information on emerging genome assisted breeding for crop improvement & enabling capacity building in their discriminate use have become very important. Socio-economic development relies on sustainable agricultural production and increase in farmers’ income is the key to eliminate poverty. The twin element of food safety & nutritional security calls for crops with better output, quality and resistance to pests as well as diseases. The significance of genomic editing and other tools related with it offer much promise, he said.

Director of National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), Ramesh V Sonti said the new set of tools with extraordinary capabilities for genome manipulation are becoming obtainable for crop improvement and a judicial utilization of such tools are essential to enhance productivity and quality of produce.

rice variety

Describing the sequential growth of improved variety of Samba Mashuri, Sonti told identifying suitable gene from huge pathogenic variability is the key to effective molecular breeding for biotic stress management in rice.

Head of Department of Genetics, Indian Agricultual Research Institute AK Singh said that a novel recessive gene for bacterial blight resistance has been plotted and it will pave way for improved cultivars resistant to the disease. The impact of pesticide remains in grains on export makes it necessary to induce disease tolerance via introgression of disease resistance genes. He said bio fortification of rice varieties for high protein & nutrients has also become important.

Chief Operating Officer, AgriGenome Labs, George Thomas, outlined the revolutionary changes in crop development attained through breeding over the last 10 years with the use of technologies like Targeting Induced Local Lesions in Genomes (Tilling), Marker Assisted Selection (MAS), genome sequencing & genome editing.

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