Agriculture Biotechnology and Plant Science
Agriculture and its allied sectors are the mainstay for nearly half of the Indian population and significantly contribute to the socio-economic fabric of the country. Agricultural intensification has led to unprecedented gains in food production making India self-sufficient. However, sustainable growth in agricultural production and productivity has become a priority area in wake of multilateral challenges of burgeoning population, climate change & associated biotic/abiotic stress factors, shrinking arable land and natural resources. Adequate food supply is no longer a cause for complacency due to complex issues of hidden hunger thus putting more emphasis on nutritional security. Despite these challenges, India has huge advantage in terms of its rich biodiversity and vast human resource pool. Plant Biotechnology has been instrumental in augmenting crop productivity to improve food, feed, and fiber security, and in reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture. Quantum leaps in molecular biology including genomics, proteomics, genome engineering/editing offer remarkable economic, environmental and social opportunities in spearheading current and future agriculture research.
Agriculture Biotechnology programme of the Department is driven to reform agricultural research through adoption of technological advances, strengthening research infrastructure and human resource development in cutting edge research.The mandate of the program is knowledge generation, technology/product development for enhanced productivity, nutritional fortification & improved quality parameters, abiotic/biotic stress tolerance, input use efficiency, climate resilience and biosafety. The program supports research in economically important crops including rice, wheat, cotton, millets, oilseeds and pulses along with horticultural crops. The department through its concerted efforts over the years has supported R & D projects in basic and translational research, national networks, centers of excellence, international collaborations as well as public-private partnership. The program has undergone a paradigm shift over the years according to evolving needs of the farmers, consumers and export markets to provide solutions in the form of varieties/technologies/products, capacity building, infrastructure creation and knowledge generation. Research endeavors supported in Molecular breeding/Marker Assisted Selection (MAS), QTL/gene discovery and marker trait association studies have been successful in generating elite pre-breeding material and improved crop varieties with better yield parameters, climate resilience and input use efficiency.
- R&D support for basic as well as translational research to develop improved varieties/technology to mitigate the challenges of climate change.
- To conduct basic and applied research for improved yield, bio-fortification and improved quality parameters of major crop plants.
- Genome analysis/sequencing and genetic characterization of indigenous germplasm
- To train quality human resource and develop infrastructure in Agriculture biotechnology
- To generate network programs in the priority areas of Agriculture research
- To establish CoEs in priority crop plants across the country as per regional needs.
- Mission mode programme on “Characterization of Genetic Resources” in various crops. The mission mode programme is aimed at sequencing/re-sequencing and phenotypic characterization of available germplasm resources of Oilseeds (Sesame, Linseed, Safflower, Niger), Cereals (Rice and Wheat) and Pulses (Chickpea)
- Mission program on “Genetic Enhancement on Pulses”. Programme envisages development of improved varieties for productivity and disease/climate resilience.
- A major network programme on “Pathogenomics of Plant Viruses” to study crop pathogens which lead to losses in the agricultural sector in terms of both quality and quantity. R & D in this direction is an important step considering Bio-security implications on food security.
- National Genomics and Genotyping Facility (Phase I) anchored at National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), New Delhi
- DBT-UDSC Partnership Centre on Genetic Manipulation of Brassicas.
- Development of superior haplotype based near isogenic lines (Haplo-NILs) for enhanced genetic gain in rice
- Mission Programme on “Minor oilseeds of India origin” (Linseed, Safflower, Niger and Sesame).
- Establishing a Genomic selection and speed breeding facility at ISARC, Varanasi.
- Indo-UK Crop Science fellowship for capacity building.
Details of major new Initiatives
Significant Achievements/success stories:
- Department’s support has led to the development of seventeen (17) varieties of crop plants through marker assisted backcross breeding. In cereals fourteen varieties were released (Maize- 2, Rice- 8 and Wheat-4) with enhanced nutritional content, resistance to pathogens and tolerance to abiotic stresses. Of these 14 varieties, 6 have reached farmers field (Maize- 1, Rice- 4 and Wheat-1). In addition, one variety of soybean and two rose varieties have been released.
- Department of Biotechnology partnered in ‘The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC)’ and supported the Indian researchers to achieve the most challenging task of decoding of complex wheat genome.
Products and Technologies
|1||Improved Varieties Released with Department’s support||View pdf (276 KB)|
Contacts Concerned Officer for more Information
|Programme Head||Dr. Nitin Kumar Jain, Scientist F|
|Programme Officer||Dr. Addanki Vamsi krishna, Scientist E|
|Attached Officer||Dr. Sumita Kumari, Scientist C|