Highlighting the power of next generation genomics and integrated breeding

Dr Dar speaking at the inaugural of the international workshop. Also seen in the picture are (From L-R) Prof PK Gupta, Dr SK Datta, Dr Wang Jun and Dr R Varshney. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

“Next generation genomics has been projected as the seventh most important disruptive innovation technology in the context of potential economic impact in 2025, as per a recent survey of McKinsey Global Institute. The areas that could benefit from this technology include human health and agriculture,” ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar said.

“ICRISAT is in the forefront of deploying these technologies in integrated breeding to develop resilient crop varieties with increased yield and quality in order to sustain and elevate the livelihood and health of millions of resource-poor farmers of the world. It is important to bring genomics, phenomics and breeding informatics together to make best use of next generation genomics in improving agricultural crops,” Dr Dar added.

The Director General was speaking at the inaugural of the 4th international workshop on Next Generation Genomics and Integrated Breeding for Crop Improvement (NGGIBCI-2014) held at the ICRISAT headquarters on 19-21 February.

Also speaking at the event, Prof PK Gupta, Chair, Accelerated Crop Improvement Programme of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, emphasized on the use and need of integrated breeding for accelerated crop improvement. He also underlined the importance of identifying false positive and false negative results to make best use of technology.

As the chief guest, Dr Rajendra Singh Paroda, Secretary, Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), highlighted the importance of biotechnology and most importantly its adoption in developing countries.

Dr Swapan K Datta, Deputy Director General, Crop Science, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, detailed the importance of modern genomics for crop improvement.

Dr Wang Jun, Executive Director, Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI)-Shenzhen – the largest sequencing center in the world – was the event’s inaugural speaker. He delivered an inspiring presentation on “Digital revolution of agriculture – what -omics can do”. Dr Jun also appreciated the ongoing collaboration between BGI and ICRISAT.

The workshop concluded with a lecture on “Adoption of modern breeding tools in developing countries: challenges and opportunities” by Dr Jean-Marcel Ribaut, Director of CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme. Dr CLL Gowda, ICRISAT Deputy Director General for Research suggested including genomics in the breeding program, while Dr Rajeev Varshney, Research Program Director – Grain Legumes, thanked the ICRISAT Management, workshop delegates, partners, sponsors, and ICRISAT staff for the successful workshop.

ICRISAT organized this international workshop as part of its activities on Critical Focus Area (CFA)-Molecular Breeding, in collaboration with the CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, and in partnership with the CGIAR Research Programs on Grain Legumes and on Dryland Cereals.

This is the fourth such workshop on NGS data analysis to help understand next generation genomics and integrated breeding methodologies for crop improvement. Over 150 delegates from 20 countries took part in the event; presented were 37 high-quality presentations covering topics including next generation genomics, novel mapping approaches and QTLs, sequence to phenotype, genomics-assisted breeding, integrated breeding, breeding for target environments, genomic selection, decision support platforms for breeding, and new horizons for crop improvement.

Participants of the 4th international workshop on ‘Next Generation Genomics and Integrated Breeding for Crop Improvement’. Photo: PS Rao, ICRISAT

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