Role of genomics for sustainable agriculture draws focus at meet

Prof Rajeev Varshney (Inset Pic)

Prof Rajeev Varshney (Inset Pic)


Prof Rajeev Varshney spoke about the significance of legumes, such as chickpea, pigeonpea, and groundnut, in contributing to sustainable agriculture

Hyderabad: A workshop on ‘Current Trends in Plant Biotechnology’ by Agri Biotech Foundation and Federation of Asian Biotech Associations (FABA) in association with World Trade Center Shamshabad commenced on June 15, 2023. Experts like Prof Rajeev Varshney, Director, CCFI, Murdoch University, Australia, Dr Ramana Sundaram, Director, ICAR-IIRR, Dr Ramanathan, CTO, Rallis India Limited have given their presentations. Prof Rajeev Varshney, delivered a compelling presentation on the role of genomics in sustainable agriculture. He emphasized the global challenges facing food and agriculture, the importance of legumes as climate-smart crops, and the potential of genomics for crop improvement.

During the presentation, Prof. Varshney highlighted the significance of legumes, such as chickpea, pigeonpea, and groundnut, in contributing to sustainable agriculture. These crops require less water, have lower carbon footprints, and support soil health, making them essential for diversification and sustainability of cropping systems. Prof. Varshney also discussed the potential of genome analysis in crop improvement, including germplasm sequencing and high-throughput genotyping projects. He shared examples of drought- tolerant chickpeas developed in India and Ethiopia, demonstrating the practical applications of genomics in agriculture.

In his conclusion, Prof. Varshney outlined several key points for the future of sustainable agriculture:

• The necessity of crop diversification.

• The use of genomics, pan-genomics, GWAS, and haplotype analysis for identifying precise genes and genetic selection tools.

• The importance of fast-forward breeding for incorporating superior genes/haplotypes in crop improvement.

• The potential of AI, ML, and simulation approaches in accelerating trait mapping and predicting agronomic performance

• The value of multi-omics approaches in providing metabolic pathways and genes with causal effects on traits

• The need for deploying GAB and GAB 2.0 approaches in developing new improved varieties

• The establishment and strengthening of rapid-delivery systems in developing countries.

• The critical role of international, national, and local government/agencies support and capacity building in achieving sustainable agriculture and food security

Prof Varshney’s presentation underscores the importance of genomics in addressing global food security and sustainability challenges.

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