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Agriculture Biotechnology
Agriculture Biotechnology (1)With a billion-plus mouths to feed, and counting, crop biotechnology has to be a natural winner in priority terms for a country like India, especially in the era of climate change, degradation of farmlands, increased soil salinity, due to drop in groundwater as well as pollution of surface water sources, more frequent droughts and so on.
Advances in gene discovery and genomics have led to the identification of several novel genes that provide excellent opportunities for effectively tackling problems of biotic/abiotic stresses, for enhancement of crop productivity, and for improvement of their nutritional quality.
These scientific advances can facilitate us in accelerating pre-breeding germplasm enhancement for eventual crop improvement through effective molecular breeding. Along with pursuing basic research, genome sequencing and genomic studies for identification of useful genes, QTLs & validation of their function; developing transgenic crops and crop improvement through marker aided selection for tackling various abiotic & biotic stresses and quality traits are high priority in the agriculture biotechnology programme of the department.
Major ongoing programmes:
  • Wheat Genome Sequencing Programme
  • Rice Functional Genomics
  • Crop Biofortification and quality improvement programme
  • National Plant Gene Repository at NIPGR, New Delhi
  • Next Generation Challenge Programme on Chickpea Genomics,
  • Network project – From QTL to Variety- Marker Assisted Breeding of Rice with Major QTLs for Drought, Flooding and Salt Tolerance,
  • Root Development and Nutrition, germination, Characterisation and Use of EMS Induced Mutants of Upland Variety Nagina-22 for Functional Genomics of Rice,
  • Identification of Candidate Genes for Enhanced Water Use Efficiency in Rice through Activation Tagging, Metabolic Engineering programme,
  • Four Programme support for State Agricultural Universities,
  • Accelerated Crop Improvement Programme to bring important traits into high yielding varieties of Rice, Wheat, Chick pea, soybean, cotton, mustard and Maize.
Besides, nearly 300 ongoing R&D projects have been supported by the department during last 3 to 5 years. Several research leads have been obtained and these are being pursued further.
Major Successes Major Successes : Significant achievements during the 11th Plan period
New Initiatives New Initiatives
rice NIPGR study can help maintain rice quality during storage
Task Forces/Committee
Plant Biology

Basic research has been a major thrust area under Plant Biotechnology with special emphasis on signal transduction, root and floral differentiation, host pathogen interaction etc. Application of genomic tools to study both structural and functional genomics under the Solanaceae Genome Initiative. Thrust has also been on forestry, horticulture and plantation crops, fruits & vegetables including application of tissue culture for regeneration of high quality economically important plant species, their field demonstration, and validation of proven technology; germplasm characterization and their improvement of crops through molecular biology tools. Focus is also on major horticulture crops including apple with focus on, 1) Creating A genomics platform for Apple research in India and 2) Improvement of Apple through biotechnological interventions.

Studies are also supported on Forestry network focussing on Genetic improvement of Eucalyptus through mapping and tagging of QTL genes for two industrially important traits like adventious rooting capacity and wood property.

Under saffron network focus is on developing a tissue culture protocol for corm production of desired size, develop in vitro microplants for cormlet production and develop complete agro technology for use of cormlets of small size; characterization of microflora of rhizosphere associated with Saffron crop to develop consortia of beneficial microbes; for genetic improvement of Saffron and functional genomics approaches in understanding the regulation of synthesis and accumulation of appocarotenoids.

The proposals are accepted round the year through epromise online portal of the department and are considered by the task force usually held twice a year around June July and Dec-Jan

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Contact Address:

Divisional Head

Dr. S. R. Rao
Scientist `G’/ Adviser
Telephone: 011-24360295
Email: srrao[at]dbt[dot]nic[dot]in

Programme Officer

Dr. Onkar N. Tiwari,
Scientist ‘E’ / Principal Scientific Officer (PSO)
Telephone: 011-49166740
Email: onkar[dot]dbt[at]nic[dot]in