Fifth ICRISAT CEG Course

Participants trained: 25 from ICAR centers, State Agricultural Universities, Private Sector, Research Foundations, Government Organizations including 3 overseas self-sponsored participants from Kenya, Eritrea, and Ghana also participated in this interactive learning course

The Center of Excellence in Genomics (CEG) to further strengthen the molecular breeding program in India, hosted its Fifth Training Course training course on “Molecular Marker Technology or Crop Improvement” during 18 May to 29 May at ICRISAT Patancheru. This is the third course specifically for the CEG participants. Twenty-five participants from ICAR centers, State Agricultural Universities, Private Sector, Research Foundations, Government Organizations including 3 overseas participants who are self-supported from Kenya, Eritrea, and Ghana also participated in this interactive learning course.

The main thrust of this course was to expose the participants to the analysis and interpretation of molecular marker data that can now be supplied by a Genotyping Servicing Lab, such as the one housed at the CEG. The course imparted the training to participants on experimental design, phenotyping, and marker data analysis for genetic mapping and QTL mapping. The two-week training course included laboratory practicals, lectures (by genomic scientists, bioinformatics specialist, crop physiologist and biometrician and invited speakers), computer and biometrics classes using the specialized computer software for diversity analysis and field visits.

The ICRISAT Director General Dr William Dar, in his message emphasized the need of modern tools to improve agriculture to help the poor people of the SAT. ICRISAT Deputy Director General (Research) Dr David Hoisington elaborated the need for this type of learning courses in India highlighting how a researcher can use the molecular markers in their crop improvement programs even without generating data in his/her lab. Dr Mike Butterfield, Global Theme Leader, Biotechnology gave a brief account on research activities of GT-BT for crop improvement and emphasized the importance of the course. Dr Rosana Mula, Training Coordinator, ICRISAT shared ICRISAT’s philosophy on capacity building of national partners through such courses. Dr Rajeev Varshney, Course Coordinator, provided an overview on requirement and importance of the course in accelerating the marker adoption in breeding programs and recognized the contribution of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

In addition to ICRISAT/CEG scientists the four resource persons Dr BM Prasanna, ICAR National Fellow, IARI, New Delhi; Professor EA Siddiq, National Professor and Distinguished Chair, CDFD; Professor Akshay Pradhan, Department of Genetics, University of Delhi South Campus, New Delhi, and Dr Pawan Kulwal, Biotechnology Center, Panjabrao Deshmukh Agricultural University, Akola delivered the lectures and practical demonstrations for the benefit of the course participants.

The course concluded with the Graduation Ceremony on 29 May 2009 in which the participants received certificates from Dr Dave Hoisington, Deputy Director General (Research). Participants thanked ICRISAT for their selection and organizing this training course, acknowledging the support of Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. Dr Butterfield encouraged the participants to follow-up on this course after going back to their institutes. Dr Rajeev Varshney appreciated the hard work of the participants and emphasized the value of the training course in enhancing the skills of our partners in India and Africa. Dr Rajeev also encouraged the participants to get in touch with ICRISAT for any clarifications on the training aspects and the tools they learnt and insisted the participants they ICRISAT made a note of their constructive suggestions and will implement in future training course, if feasible. He appreciated the hard work and contribution of several colleagues from ICRISAT including M/s Tom Hash, S Senthilvel, T Nepolean, Abhishek Rathore, Seetha Kannan, Punna Ramu, Narsi Reddy, Soma Raju, K Eshwar and other colleagues, and the four guest faculty members Professor EM Siddiq, Dr BM Prasanna, Professor Akshay Pradhan and Dr Pawan Kulwal. In his concluding remarks, Dr Varshney appreciated the efforts and patience of the participants and encouraged them to develop research proposals after returning to their institutes.

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