Gene bank takes up massive characterisation drive for wheat seed variety development
The national seed bank which operates under NBPGR, has more than four lakh accessions out of which around 1.2 lakh belongs to only rice and wheat varieties.
Top agricultural scientists associated with the charasterisation drive say that the purpose was to help breeder in providing them with large genetic variability which helps in quality seed development. Out of 5000 accessions, more than 3000 have been found to contain traits which help in development of seed which are resilient to climate change.
“Through characterisation seed breeder would be able to develop wheat varieties which could deal with diseases like yellow rust which is major threat to whet crop in the country,” KC Bansal, director, NBPGR, told FE. The national gene bank would also take up characterisation of of genes for other crops such as oilseeds and vegetables shortly.
India has achieved higher wheat production in the last few years has largely been attributed to favourable weather and significant rise in minimum support price, but a big factor also has been the virtual absence of any threatening crop disease, particularly the dreaded Ug99, commonly known as yellow rust.
The disease—which destroyed large swathes of wheat crop in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan and Iran—was a real danger for Indian wheat
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