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Crop Biotech Update

Bansal Leads Initiative to Evaluate ~22,000 Wheat Accessions

November 18, 2020
Dr. Matthew Reynolds (CIMMYT) examining large ear heads with Prof. KC Bansal 

The first study was conducted for a comprehensive and systematic evaluation of the entire collection of wheat, ~22,000 accessions conserved in the Indian National Gene Bank. The unprecedented initiative and study was led by Prof. KC Bansal, former Director of  Indian Council of Agricultural Research - National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBPGR). The results of the study are published on the cover of Crop Science journal, November-December 2020 issue.

The national wheat improvement program in India has contributed significantly toward achieving food security since the advent of the green revolution in the 1960s. However, we need sustainable wheat production in this era of climate change by developing high yielding thermo-tolerant varieties with durable disease resistance, and with the capacity to produce more with fewer resources like water and fertilizers.

To address these challenges, it was always desired to evaluate all lines of wheat germplasm conserved in the National Gene Bank at NBPGR for the identification of promising lines for use by breeders and researchers using modern genomics tools. However, this was a gigantic task and never attempted before involving all (about 22,000) wheat accessions conserved in the Genebank.

Prof Bansal took an unprecedented initiative in 2011 involving scientists from NBPGR and wheat researchers across the country; completed the study at the national level at different hotspots for resistance to diseases and heat stress, identified promising lines.

Read more in Crop Science.

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