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Crop Biotech Update

ICRISAT Releases Iron-biofortified Pearl Millet

July 10, 2013

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has released a high-iron pearl millet variety known as Dhanshakti. The said variety is the first mineral biofortified crop cultivar to be officially released and reaching farmers' fields in India.

The history of this variety goes back to 1988, when ICTP 8203, an open-pollinated variety of pearl millet developed at ICRISAT in 1982 from selection within an iniadi landrace from northern Togo, was released for cultivation in peninsular India in 1988. This variety was found to have the highest level of iron density among a diverse range of populations, open-pollinated varieties, and hybrids in several trials conducted during 2004-2008. By exploiting intra-population variability for iron density within it, one of its improved versions, ICTP 8203 Fe-10-2 (ICTP 8203 Fe for short), was developed.

For further information, see ICRISAT's news release at http://www.icrisat.org/newsroom/latest-news/happenings/happenings1578.htm#2.